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June 2016

Editors Note
Editor's Pick
Govt releases draft national wind-solar hybrid policy
Call for urgent changes in oil and gas industry
India has done little to bridge energy supplydemand gap: Vikram Singh Mehta
Building a Better Battery

Editors Choice
Air pollution to kill millions more without change of
energy policy IEA
Fort McMurrays devastating wildfire is no longer
the Canadian oil industrys biggest problem
Why India could be the oil markets next big driver
of consumption

IndiScan

Government plans to begin marginal oil, gas fields


auction
Dharmendra Pradhan eyes India's participation in
hydro-carbon sector in Bangladesh
Niti Aayog singles out 32 loss-making PSUs for
strategic sale
India taking lead to create alliance of gas importers:
Pradhan
Indian Oil Corp likely to bag 37.5% stake in
proposed JV to manage ATF at airports
Indian Oil Corp slashes oil import tender time by
half
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June 2016

Honble Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas


Inaugurates state-of-the-art Refining Technology at
Honeywell India Technology Center
Energy to lay Jaigarh Goa-Mangalore gas pipeline
Government weighs doubling capacity of LNG
import terminal
OIL-led consortium inks deal for 24% stake in
Vankor oil field

GlobeScan

Exxon CEO says high debt levels muddy potential


shale acquisitions
500 New Jobs as BP Commits to 40 Years in the
North Sea
IHS report: Latin Americas PE deficit to widen in
next decade
Alberta's Petrochemical Diversification Program
receives 16 applications
Angolas State-Run Sonangol Confirms More Oil
and Gas In Major Discovery
OPEC reveals oil output volumes in 2015
World gas production increases OPEC
Russia, Venezuela discuss oil production freeze

TrendScan

OPEC Sees Global Oil Market Balancing Toward the


End of 2016
Shale Oil Seen Stifling OPECs Classic MarketBalancing Role
Asias Upcoming LNG Demand Centre
What if crude hits $50 and go beyond: Experts
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June 2016

With crude oil is Hard times ahead ?


OPEC changes estimates on global proven gas
reserves
Batteries Storing Power Seen as Big as Rooftop
Solar in 12 Years
Monsoon to wash away diesel demand surge
India Keeping tab on Brexit, oil prices : Sinha
Heres How Electric Cars Will Cause the Next Oil
Crisis
Average oil production to decline this year, grow
more slowly in the future: CAPP

TechScan

Scientists discover a giant planet that orbits two


suns - and could have habitable moons
Graphene Powers Solar Cell Come Sun or Rain
The dream of the medical tricorder
University of Waterloo Receives Award and
Presents Winning Design at the AMR in
Washington, DC
New catalyst could make more efficient automobiles
less polluting
Asteroids, Not Comets, Brought Bulk Of Moon's
Water
Microwaved Nanoribbons May Bolster Oil, Gas
Wells
Graphene Device Puts Fuel-Efficient Cars in Pole
Position
Experts Turn Chief Global Warming Gas into
Harmless Stone
New Phenomenon Shows Promise for HighPerformance Fuel Cells
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June 2016

Sharks' electric field "sixth sense" could inspire


better fuel cells
New Biomaterial Impedes Bacteria on Metal
Surfaces
Using nanostructured filters to reduce shipping
pollution
Make Better Solar Cells
A Nano-Engine That Could Power Next Generation
of Robots
Cost Separation Of Co2 From Fluegas
Scientists moot 'green fracking' technique
Earths Bathtub Collected Oxygen to Support Life
Genesis of Life From Primordial Soup Probed by
Scientists
Origin of Complex Life
Sparking an Energy Revolution

ALTERNATIVE & RENEWABLE ENERGY

ABB connects power to the Indian grid from one of


the worlds largest solar plants
Saudi minister says solar power should fuel
national growth
Saudi firms eye wind projects to meet new national
renewables target
New Solar Plants Generate Floating Green Power
Japan aims to establish a society based on
hydrogen fuel
Japan is investing more into hydrogen fuel cells
Govt eyes 10gw of green hybrid power
Government mulls policy to promote wind energy
projects
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June 2016

ABB inverter dramatically boosts performance of


solar power installations
MNRE implements plan to promote small wind
energy and hybrid systems
India to use International Solar Alliance to push
solar water pumps
New Solar Plants Generate Floating Green Power
Audi, DuPont, Novozymes Among 20 Orgs Joining
Below50 Coalition to Scale Up Sustainable Fuels
Ikea vows to be net exporter of renewable energy by
2020
Can you power a business on 100% renewable
energy? Ikea wants to try
ANALYSIS - Utility solar promotes enlightened
approach to land use

HSE, Climate Change & Sustainability

Bongaigaon Refinery of IndianOil becomes the 1st


refinery to link Stack Monitoring Parameters with
Pollution Control Boards servers for public view
World Environment Day : 5th June
Cleaning Up Dcades of Phosphorus Pollution in
Lakese
U.S. blames Plains pipeline company for Santa
Barbara oil spill
Indian berries may fight dengue mosquitoes
Record number of countries to sign Paris climate
accord
Misaligned mirrors cause fire at world's largest
solar power plant in California
Canadian energy board establishes pipeline safety
committee
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June 2016

Using nanostructured filters to reduce shipping


pollution
Transport: A cardboard bicycle sounds as plausible
as a chocolate teapot. But that has not stopped one
inventor from building one
Getting the most out of your sustainability program

F2F

Piyush Goel - Minister of Power , Coal & Renewable


Energy, Govt of India
RS Sharma, Former CMD, ONGC: Government's
plan for auction a welcome step from industry point
of view
Sheriff Adam Christianson: Character and
competence
4 reasons to meet face-to-face with employees

The Banyan Tree

Watch your words, for they can kill


How govt statisticians think India lives
Character reveals whether people serve others or
themselves

EventScan : Save the Date

June 2016

Editors Notes
Dear Patron of Petrotech,
First half of the year has now entered the pages of history, which, with
many reforms, revisions, addition and deletions in the laws obstructing
countrys development and improving quality of the life of people and
environment, has build a foundation of a promising future. The energy
sector has been in the centre forward of this fast moving year.
I took note of some of the legacies of the months gone by and some of the
expectations in the months ahead, which I would like to share with you in
this issue of PetroScan, which is now on your computer screen.
Investment in Upstream
During current year the Govt has taken many bold decisions in boosting the
sagging oil production and business sustainability of the Indian oil and gas
diesel was one bold step, which has helped companies to plan for investing
big in their future. In March this year, the government announced pricing
freedom for natural gas from deep sea fields that begin production this
year. It was again a decision which shall help India attracting investment in
gas business.
Recent announcement of the Govt. for investing $ 27 billion into upstream
shall go a long way in realising PMs vision of reducing oil import bill by
10% by 2025. Keeping in view this ambitious goal and that of maintaining
countrys growth @ 8% pa, which is inter-relation with energy consumption,
this target looks tough, but certainly not impossible. It, then, calls for a
meticulous planning and uncompromising execution.
The renewable energy including nuclear power shall have to take centre
stage, to free the oil and gas form majority of its current use in energy
sector, and which is also essential for meeting Indias commitment at COP
21 in December 15. PMs untiring effort for India entry into NSG is also one
such initiative in this direction, besides giving freedom to oil companies to
achieve this goal of 10% reduction on oil import bill.
In this direction, one of the major initiative lunched recently is for attracting
investment which is bound to increase the pace of exploration in marginal,
low-explore and un-explored, offshore and deep waters fields.
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June 2016

There was some scepticism about this decision in a time when globally, as
per Wood Machenzie, about 1 Trillion investments in exploration has been
either stalled or likely to be suspended due to low crude oil prices, which
are yet to recover, and not likely to recover to a very attractive level in near
future.
However, in this situation, ONGC proved that, even in low oil price regime
which hit its own bottom line, could be to advantage India, when a majority
of rigs are idling. The rig hiring charges, has over last two years, have
fallen to about 50K to 60K as compared to over $80 to 100 K/day during
the hay days of crude oil ruling over $100/bbl. I must complement ONGC
leadership for taking advantage of this situation, as they thought that
investing during the current down-cycle ensures lower costs for explorers
as well as future returns over four or five years once oil recovers. According
to Mr D K Sarraf CMD ONGC their decision to hire deepwater drill ships
and dozens of jack-up rigs, during this period, for a $5-billion development
program in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, will result in savings of about 20%
to 50 % in the cost of goods and services. ONGC plans to spend 11 trillion
rupees by 2030 to raise output.
ONGC is not alone in taking advantage of this situation. It is also reported
that last May, Reliance has held meetings with oilfield-services companies
to restart work at four offshore oil and gas blocks, including one of India's
biggest natural gas discoveries, plans to drill 21 wells in four offshore
areas, including the deep-water KG-D6 block in the Bay of Bengal.
The Govt. must be complemented for encouraging and also taking such
decisions, which has accorded top priority investment in the Oil and Gas
exploration and enhancing oil security in long terms. It was along pending
decision which has now been rolled out with better terms and conditions for
attracting and enhancing investment in this sector.
Investment in Downstream
The NITI AYOG and MoPNG has been regularly reviewing the demand
pattern of oil and gas for next 10, 15, 20 and 30 years, which has prompted
the Govt to accelerate investment in the mid and downstream O&G and
petrochemicals industry, besides upstream. MoPNG has envisioned to
construct a 60 million refinery on west coast, through a joint venture of
IOC,HP, BP and EIL. It shall be implemented in two phases. The first
phase costing about $40b, is expected to be completed in 5 to 6 years,
from the zero date starting on date of acquisition of about 12,000 to 15,000
acres of land.
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June 2016

Having been conceptualised in 2016, this refinery, if everything moves on


clockwork on pre-set timeline, can be at best, put on full stream earliest by
2022. About this time demand of petroleum products may grow by another
70 mtpa, out-numbering the refining capacity.
Which means, either the supply-demand pattern is reviewed and guided, or
additional refining capacity to be simultaneously built? It may be same story
about the Petrochemicals and Chemicals industry, which has keep a pace
with growth rate in terms of GDP. I wonder why the Petrochemical is not
under the administrative umbrella of MoPNG, for ensuring an integrated
planning and better projections.
Invest in O&G R&D and Commercialisation of Indigenous
Technologies:
In my last editorial notes, I had emphasised burning need for increasing
investment in R&D, which is abyssal in upstream. Attracting investment in
upstream, shall be only a temporary major for securing energy security, the
lasting security shall be achieved only through investing in R&D and its
commercialisation.
The companies and the Govt have to review its current status and create a
new policy and plan for enabling their research scientists and technology
developers for rubbing shoulders with best in the world on a timeline.
In order to achieve this the R&D has to be given freedom like academic
institutions, and released from the sickles of run of the mill HR policies
related to recruitment, retention, leadership development etc.
Invest in creating Scientists before Investing in Creating
Infrastructure
The HR leaders must realise that R&D personnel i.e scientists and
researchers are a breed apart from the operations maintenance and
marketing etc personnel, who can be put in charge of a plant or section
after training them on the job for 1 to 2 years ( in practice it has shrunk to
maximum of 6 months).
Same is not the case with scientists. Considering their basic education up
to post graduation level, followed by doctoral studies, post doc internship
and min 5 years of gaining on the job work experience under matured
scientists, it takes minimum of 10 to 15 years for a person to just set into
the mould and mind of contributing scientists. Now should the industry
leaders and HR professionals not pause and ask as to why HR policies for
the research centres of companies should not be different from the current
concept one fit all?
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June 2016

The company policy, however, could be same as the operating people for
the lab technicians and support services people engaged in R&D outfits,
but same should not be applied for the scientists.
Having realised it during my short stint of leading one of major R&D
organisation of the largest Indian OMC, I worked for it relentlessly with
some success. I am of the firm opinion that he IP of a company does not
rest in the IP documents and IP registration Offices, but rests in the minds
of the scientists. I, therefore, strongly advocated and continue to do so, for
retaining the scientists with area / domain and holding secrets of critical
IPs
which provides the company strategic advantage over the
competitors, who can mentor GeNext scientist, to be retained by the PSU
Research outfits, till they continue to contribute. Here too I had some
success. But, I happy, at least I could make a beginning and seed this idea
in the minds of opinion and decision makers of future, who took it forward.
The Indian expenditure on R&F has been stagnating below 1% of its GDP
for years. Its time the Govt of India, as a majority shareholder and
administrative controller of the PSEs, look into it closely and provide a new
direction to the industry. I also consider that its the also the role and
responsibility of the Gov as majority shareholder of PSEs, to ensure
succession planning of the leaders who would lead the organisations. The
Govt organs have to work more as motivator and facilitator than acting only
a controller and policy planner. as and create and periodically review be the
HR policies, which alone shall encourage independent thinking and
innovation.
Will they? But this we can expect from a pro-development Govt. And we
shall never give up hope.
I request you to share the PetroScan with your friends and colleagues, if
you find it useful. I sincerely thank everyone who responded to my request
to sent me their suggestions. Your suggestions were highly encouraging.
Wishing you a joyous monsoon, and with best regards,

(Anand Kumar)

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June 2016

Your Page
Dear Mr Anand Kumar
As usual excellent data and brilliant presentation-Congratulations
Regards
Col (Dr) S.P. Wahi (Retd.)
B.Sc (Engg), FNAE, FBIM (UK), FIE (IND)
Former: Chairman, ONGC, CMD CCI Executive Director BHEL
Chairman Bharat Ophthalmic Glass Ltd.
Chief Planning Bokaro Steel Ltd. Manager HVF Avadi
Chairman, National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE)
Director IIM-Cal-IIT Delhi-Board of Governors ASCI
Urja Sangam 2015 Awardee
Padma Bhushan Awardee

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dear Mr Aanand Kumar,


I greatly appreciate valuable and relevant information packed in the publication, Coming
from you, it is natural to expect this quality and synthesis,
With my best wishes and personal regards,
Dr Baldev Raj
Padma Shri
Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore,

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dear Anandkumarji,
Heartiest congrats for bringing out such a comprehensive issue ,that is quite informative
and useful.Your editorial is quite apt.
Thanks a lot, with best regards,
Dr NG Kannan
Former Dir ( Mktg) IndianOil
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dear Anand Sir,
Many thanks for sharing the March edition of PetroScan. I just read your
article titled "Invest in Yourself" and it makes my Monday morning more
happening and motivating.
Thank you again.
Martand, TERI
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June 2016

Editors Pick
Govt releases draft national wind-solar hybrid policy
Press Trust of India | New Delhi June 15, 2016 Last Updated
at 00:03 IST
The government has sought for public comments for draft
National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy which aims at providing a
framework to promote large grid connected wind-solar PV system
for optimal and efficient utilisation of transmission infrastructure
among others.
Draft National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy has been prepared and
being placed for comments/suggestions/views of the
stakeholders. The same will be submitted by June 30, 2016
Ministry of New & Renewable Energy said.
The goal of the policy is to reach wind-solar hybrid capacity of 10
GW by 2022, it said, adding that the policy aims to encourage
new technologies, methods and way-outs involving combined
operation of wind and solar PV plants.
The main objective of the policy is to provide a framework for
promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV system for
optimal and efficient utilisation of transmission infrastructure and
land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation, thus,
achieving better grid stability.
Solar and wind power being infirm in nature impose certain
challenges on grid security and stability.
Studies have revealed that solar and winds are almost
complementary to each other and hybdridation of two
technologies would help in minimising the variability apart from
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June 2016

optimally utilising the


transmission system.

infrastructure,

including

land

and

Superimposition of wind and solar resource maps show that there


are large areas where both wind and solar have high to moderate
potential. The existing wind farms have scope of adding solar PV
capacity and similarly there may be wind potential in the vicinity of
existing solar PV plant.
Under the category of wind-solar hybrid power plants, wind and
solar PV systems will be configured to operate at the same point
of grid connection.
There can be different approaches towards integrating wind and
solar depending upon the size of each of the source integrated
and the technology type.
India has set an ambitious target of reaching 175 GW of installed
capacity from renewable energy sources including 100 GW from
solar and 60 GW from wind by 2022. Various policy initiatives
have been taken to achieve this target. The country has already
crossed a mark 26.8 GW of wind and 7.6 GW of solar power
installed capacity during May 2016.
"We believe Tata Power will share further details on its capital
structure in due course.
"Tata Power's operating performance in the fiscal year ended
March 2016 was above our expectations. Cash flows were
stronger due to stable earnings from the company's regulated
distribution business and lower losses in the unregulated Mundra
project," it said.
A sharp reduction in coal prices led to lower losses for the
Mundra project, where the sale price for the PPA is fixed.

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June 2016

"The company's ratio of funds from operations to debt was


stronger at about 12 per cent for the fiscal ended March 2016,
against our expectation of about 9 per cent," it said.
The company will likely emerge as one of the larger renewable
energy players in India but overall, renewable energy accounts for
less than 30 per cent of the country's power generation.
"We believe Tata Power will need to manage its liquidity
appropriately as the planned short-term bridge facility could
accentuate the pressure from high short-term debt and continuing
covenant breach at the Mundra project. However, Tata Power has
satisfactory banking relationships and access to support from its
promoters if required," it said.

Call for urgent changes in oil and gas industry


By Douglas Fraser, 13 June 2016
Business/economy editor, Scotland
From the section Scotland business

Senior figures in offshore oil and gas have called for more radical and urgent changes to avoid rapid decline.

They say there are only two years in which to secure the
industry's future.
A report by PwC includes a proposal for a "super joint venture"
between offshore operators.
It would share risk as well as return, and secure co-ordination of
activities for smaller fields and fragmented assets, as some
equipment nears the end of its working life.
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June 2016

It could also cut out as much as 15% of cost that results from
duplication of effort.
The joint approach could also be applied to funding, with the
survey of senior figures finding that a lack of capital was their
biggest problem.
Lack of leadership
The report, "A Sea Change", found that fewer than three in five
senior executives interviewed were positive about the industry's
future, while a fifth were pessimistic.
Suggestions in the report were that infrastructure, including the
pipeline network, could be handed over to a third party company
to ensure co-operation, or it could be nationalised.
Interviewed anonymously, the industry leaders were critical of the
lack of leadership.
They suggested in the PwC report that the industry needed a
dominant leading figure. This person may have to come from a
different sector, to shake up inefficient, older-thinking of the
existing regime.
Analysis by Douglas Fraser, Scotland
business/economy editor
You know something's really badly
wrong with North Sea oil and gas,
when the people who control it are
calling for their own overthrow.
The leaders are looking for leadership. Though fiercely
competitive, they are asking someone to arrange for their
collaboration.
These are business people asking for government to take over
their assets.

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June 2016

This follows months of bad news in which we risk becoming


inured to the job losses, pay cuts, slashed investment budgets,
and the sale or transfer of distressed assets.
Read more from Douglas
The new regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority, based in Aberdeen,
is welcomed, but the report voiced doubts about its willingness to
assert its authority, to change competitive behaviour between
offshore operators.
There was also a call for the UK government to align the
approach by different departments, and to consider the needs of
smaller operators and oilfield service companies as well as the
big operators.
Alison Baker, an oil and gas specialist with PwC, said: "During our
interviews we picked up a real sense of urgency to create one last
cycle of success that will retain and generate jobs, stimulate
growth and ensure security of energy supply.
"But this was matched by a level of frustration at the
fundamental issues that need tackling to avert the risk of
rapid and premature decline."
She added: "The majority of respondents also want the
government to take a lesson from Norway and Saudi Arabia and
be bold in setting out their blueprint for the future.
"This must incorporate onshore activity as well as defining how
the North Sea basin will evolve in the short to medium term and,
crucially, how the end game - and subsequent transition to a low
carbon landscape - will be managed."

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June 2016

India has done little to bridge energy supply-demand


gap: Vikram Singh Mehta
He said government policies had failed to
balance the pace between surging demand
and supply constraints that caused the current
energy crisis in India.
IANS | Jun 26, 2016,
India has done very little in the last few decades by way of
harmonizing its governance structures to secure its energy needs
despite a surging demand to fuel its growing economy, and the
crisis may worsen in the coming years, a policy discussion forum
here was told.
"We have done very little over the last few decades to make the
policy linkages between energy-environment and climate change.
We did not pay enough attention on energy infrastructure,
conservation, subsidisation of LPG and petrol. These are all
policy inadequacies that contributed to the increase in demand of
energy," said Brookings India Chairman Vikram Singh Mehta,
who previously served with Shell India as its CEO.
Mehta was speaking at a roundtable, 'India's Energy Security and
Climate Change Commitments: Policy Challenges', organized by
Delhi-based think tank Society for Policy Studies (SPS) in
association with the India International Centre (IIC) on Friday
evening.
He said government policies had failed to balance the pace
between surging demand and supply constraints that caused the
current energy crisis in India, the fifth largest energy consumer in
the world.
India is home to nearly 18 per cent of the global population but
uses only six per cent of the world's primary energy resources
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June 2016

and the country is set for a sustained growth in energy demand


with its growing economy, according to the Energy Outlook 2015.
"The energy crisis facing India is because the demand is surging
and the supply is failing to keep pace with demand," Mehta said,
pointing out that the demand was due to the rising population and
growing prosperity in the country.
"India has a large population. And the youth are aspirational too.
We have developed and are now entering the high energy
trajectory of consumption," said Mehta, who also served as
strategic planning advisor in the state-run Oil India Ltd.
He said since the current government's policies were focused on
modernization and expansion of its manufacturing sector "into
higher gear" with the Make in India initiative, the country needed
"to create jobs which are energy intensive".
He also said "India is the driver of energy demand in the world"
after China with India's share in world energy demand rising by
nearly 6 per cent over the last 15 years. Demand for energy for
the rest of the world increased by 2.5 per cent during this period.
Mehta also warned that India must be ready to tackle the crisis
that can get worse as countries on which "we are dependent are
either in huge political or economic crisis".
Asked if the present Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was
different from the previous rule in tacking the crisis, Mehta said:
"The NDA has benefited from the drop in global oil prices. Earlier
oil companies were bearing the burdens of subsidies. This
government and the Prime Minister in particular are aware of how
technology can enhance energy security and availability.."

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June 2016

Building a Better Battery


Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:48pmby Texas A&M University

Mapping electron density in order of increasing lithiation


levels using spectral imaging. Each colored region
corresponds to sites where electron density is localized,
which also corresponds to high concentrations of Li-ions.
"The stripes mark regions that have been extensively
lithiated and reduced," Banerjee notes. Credit: Luis De Jess
/ Texas A&M University
Forget mousetraps -- today's scientists will get the cheese if
they manage to build a better battery.
An international team led by Texas A&M University chemist
Sarbajit Banerjee is one step closer, thanks to new research
published today (June 28) in the journal Nature Communications
that has the potential to create more efficient batteries by
shedding light on the cause of one of their biggest problems -- a
"traffic jam" of ions that slows down their charging and
discharging process.
All batteries have three main components: two electrodes and an
intervening electrolyte. Lithium ion batteries work under the socalled rocking-chair model. Imagine discharging and charging a
battery as similar to the back-and-forth motion of a rocking chair.
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June 2016

As the chair rocks one way, using its stored energy, lithium ions
flow out of one electrode through the electrolyte and into the other
electrode. Then as the chair rocks the other way, charging the
battery after a day's use, the reverse happens, emptying the
second electrode of lithium ions.
"Fundamentally, when you have a battery, every time you use it, it
starts to die a little bit," Banerjee said. "The more you use it, the
more it dies. Eventually, it becomes unusable. Theoretically
speaking, you expect a certain performance from a battery, and
you rarely ever get there. People have been at a loss to
understand all the factors that contribute to this lack of full
capacity. This study points us in that direction."
Using one of the world's most powerful soft X-ray microscopes -the Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscope (STXM) -- at the
Canadian Light Source (CLS) in tandem with decades of
combined experience in materials science, Banerjee and
collaborators from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,
Binghamton University and the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST) were able to image a traffic jam of lithium
ions chemically driven through the nanowire-based channels of a
simulated battery.
"For a battery to function properly, you need to get lithium ions in,
and you need to be able to pull them out," Banerjee said. "Once
our lithium ions got in, we were seeing that they sort of stop at
some point along the way."
Banerjee points to this interruption as a veritable ghost in the
machine that not only slows everything down but also sometimes
prevents the device -- be it a cell phone or a laptop computer -from exploiting its full battery potential. He says the devil is in the
details, which in this case clearly show that the electrons, once
coupled with the lithium ions, appear content to sit instead of
moving freely, thereby distorting the electronic structure and, in
essence, trapping or stranding the flow of energy.
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June 2016

Two of Banerjee's graduate students, Luis De Jess and Gregory


Horrocks, are joint first authors on the Nature paper detailing the
team's National Science Foundation-funded research, which also
features a third Texas A&M graduate student, Abhishek Parija.
Berkeley Lab staff scientist David Prendergast and postdoctoral
fellow Yufeng Liang at Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry, a U.S.
Department of Energy National User Facility for Nanoscale
Science Research, helped the Texas A&M team design and
implement their calculations, which were experimentally verified
by colleagues at Binghamton and using NIST National
Synchrotron Light Source beamlines at Brookhaven National
Laboratory supervised by Daniel Fischer. Calculations were
conducted using Molecular Foundry as well as Texas A&M
computing resources.
Berkeley Lab's Prendergast notes that the team's work
demonstrates how X-rays can "see" small polarons -- the
combination of a charged particle (electron) and an associated
structural distortion -- through their impact on electronic structure
around the oxygen atoms in the cathode. Small polarons
previously have been proposed to be present in transport within
Li-ion cathodes but have not been "seen" directly until now.
In order to make way for additional lithium to enter the structure,
Prendergast says, the lithium ions need to diffuse, bringing their
electrons in tow. But as a small polaron, it also has to carry along
the structural distortion -- a real drag for transport of charge in a
material.
"Imagine wanting to move a house to a different site,"
Prendergast said. "A wooden house can be transported in one
piece, but a brick or stone house might have to be dismantled or
demolished first."
The team also was able to identify the specific site where the
electron sits within the particle, down to the orbital. Interestingly
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June 2016

enough, De Jess says, the holdup always occurs at the same


material-dependent point.
Once the lithium gets in, Banerjee notes there's a very slight
distortion that causes the electrons to get trapped in a plane,
where they form what he describes as "puddles of charge" that
are unable to link up and move as they should through the
material.
"You can always draw an analogy between water and electrons,"
Banerjee said. "They are making these little puddles, but until the
puddles are connected, they can't flow. Once you have enough
electrons coming in, they can all link up and start flowing. But until
that happens, they're all stranded, and they can't move to charge
or discharge something. And so they go out and hang in different
areas of the particle. They're all sort of sitting, defining different
regions, and they aren't able to move easily."
Banerjee, who joined the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry in
2014 and is an affiliated faculty member in the Department of
Materials Science and Engineering, has been working for a
number of years to understand ion intercalation, the process by
which ions like lithium move in and out of other materials. He says
the resulting analysis can be applied in many different areas,
including one of his group's specialties -- design of better logic
circuitry.
"One of the things we look at is, why do devices like cell phones
and computers use up so much energy?" Banerjee said. "We're
trying to develop new materials to make better circuits that are
less energy guzzling. This work hones in on the problem, and it's
a really good measurement. In the end, we were able to get to the
bottom of the problem."
For Banerjee, it's a result driven by the most basic of energies:
curiosity. A couple of years ago, he and Horrocks realized while
using conventional laboratory techniques to study the lithiation
23

June 2016

process in cathode materials that lithium ions would enter


nanostructures much faster than they would larger structures.
Right then and there, they made it their mission to figure out why
smaller was faster -- a quest that eventually led them to the
Canadian Light Source and an expanded research team
featuring,
among
other
top-caliber
colleagues,
CLS
Spectromicroscopy beamline scientist Jian Wang.
"Jian Wang was greatly instrumental, because the reviewers
pushed us really hard on making 100 percent sure that what we
were seeing was real," Banerjee said. "The Binghamton group
helped us verify some of the predictions in theory. We had an
observation; we calculated and matched that in models and then
from there the models predicted some other things. They
basically said, 'Well, if you're filling an electron into these certain
states and they're no longer visible to you by X-ray imaging in a
particular region of the spectrum, that means they're already full,
so you should be looking for them somewhere else.' So the
Binghamton group helped us look elsewhere, and we saw that,
too. Once again, that really brings home the entire story."
Binghamton physicist Louis Piper adds that his group has been
studying polaron formation and migration in other Li-ion battery
cathodes using X-ray spectroscopy methodology. For this
particular project, he says, their role was to confirm that the
team's calculations were predicting the polaron well by making
direct comparisons using another observation method, spatiallyaveraging hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HAXPES),
which is able to probe occupied energy states.
"The STXM is spatially-resolving but looks at empty states," Piper
said. "In my opinion, the STXM shows the spatial effects of the
polarons, which is very exciting, while the HAXPES confirmed the
energies. The combination meant that we could use the
calculations to artificially 'zoom in' with the model.

24

June 2016

"I consider our role at Binghamton as keeping the calculations


honest. It was nice to see all the approaches converge in this
study."
Ultimately, Horrocks and Banerjee agree that building a better
battery boils down to figuring out a better way to move electrons - a feat in which size matters and everything points to material.
"There are two ways to solve the problem of moving electrons
through cathode material better," Banerjee says.
"One, you can make the stuff smaller or design architectures.
Two, you can come up with entirely new materials, which is what
we're trying to do.
Basically, you prevent the electron from getting stranded because
you design the material in such a way that it doesn't have orbitals
where they would get stranded. You force them to always be delocalized. We have several materials in mind and are trying to get
that research published."

Editors Choice
Air pollution to kill millions more without change of
energy policy IEA
Premature deaths from air pollution will continue to rise to 2040
unless changes are made to the way the world uses and
produces energy, the International Energy Agency said on
Monday.
Reuters | Jun 27, 2016,
By Nina Chestney
LONDON: Premature deaths from air pollution will continue to rise
to 2040 unless changes are made to the way the world uses and
produces energy, the International Energy Agency said on
Monday.
25

June 2016

Around 6.5 million deaths globally are attributed each year to poor
air quality inside and outside, making it the world's fourth-largest
threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks
and smoking.
Harmful pollutants such as particulate matter - which can contain
acids, metals, soil and dust particles - sulfur oxides and nitrogen
oxides, are responsible for the most widespread effects of air
pollution.
Tiny particulate matter can cause lung cancer, strokes and heart
disease over the long term, as well as trigger symptoms such as
heart attacks that kill more rapidly.
The release of these pollutants is mainly due to the unregulated
or inefficient production and use of energy, the IEA said in a
special report on energy and air pollution.
Without action, premature deaths attributable to outdoor air
pollution will increase to 4.5 million in 2040 from around 3 million
currently. Premature deaths due to household air pollution
however, should fall to 2.9 million from 3.5 million.
Asia will account for almost 90 percent of the rise in deaths.
Even though global emissions are forecast to decline overall to
2040, existing and planned energy policies will not be enough to
improve air quality, the report said.
"Without changes to the way that the world produces and uses
energy, the ruinous toll from air pollution on human life is set to
rise," the IEA said.
Harmful greenhouse gas emissions should continue to fall in
industrialised countries and recent signs of decline in China
should continue, but emissions are set to rise in India, southeast
26

June 2016

Asia and Africa as energy demand growth dwarfs efforts to


improve air quality.
New energy and air quality policies can deliver cleaner air,
however, such as access to clean cook stoves and fuels to
replace inefficient biomass stoves; strictly enforced emissions
standards for road transport; controlling emissions and switching
fuels in the power sector and more energy efficiency in industry.
These measures could ensure global emissions of particulate
matter fall by 7 percent, sulfur dioxide by 20 percent and nitrogen
oxides by 10 percent to 2040.
As a result, premature deaths from outdoor pollution would fall to
2.8 million in 2040 and from household air pollution to 1.3 million,
the report said.

Fort McMurrays devastating wildfire is no longer the


Canadian oil industrys biggest problem
JEREMY VAN LOON, BLOOMBERG NEWS | June 14, 2016 10:14 AM
ET
Harbir Chhina helped develop the game-changing steam
technology that allowed companies to tap the worlds thirdlargest reserves in Canadas oilsands. It was a moonshot
that paid off.
How Canada was outplayed by America in the race to become an
energy superpower
Canada once fancied itself an emerging energy superpower.
Instead, it has been outmanoeuvred by its own biggest customer
which has raced ahead to become its top oil and gas rival.
Read on

27

June 2016

Now
the
oil-sands
industry, still recovering
from
last
months
wildfires, needs another
one.
Without a technological
breakthrough like steam
injection three decades
ago, the flows that have
transformed
the
countrys economy could
slow to a trickle.
In a world that has plenty of cheap crude, and increasingly
demands cleaner energy, the oilsands look dirty, as well as
expensive.
We didnt use that word moonshot, but thats what it was, says
Chhina, now a top exec at Cenovus Energy Inc.
The search for cleaner and cheaper techniques may be less
urgent than fighting the blaze, which knocked out more than 1
million barrels of daily output and forced the evacuation of an
entire city. But in the long run its a bigger threat.
Fickle Prices
Will it prove to be a terminal one? Not according to Chhina, who
says hes as optimistic as he was in the 1980s when the oilsands
began to take off, triggering hundreds of billions of dollars of
investment. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper likened the
feat to the building of the Great Wall of China and Egypts
pyramids.

Why India could be the oil markets next big driver of


consumption
28

June 2016

But investment today is on a much smaller scale. Canadas


spending on research and development has been declining since
2001, and is only about two-thirds of the OECD average. And
since the oil price slumped in 2014, the whole economy has
slowed sharply, after years of outperforming industrial peers. No
other G7 country is so dependent on commodities and their fickle
prices.
Harpers successor, Justin Trudeau, wants to change that,
nudging the worlds 11th-largest economy toward services and
knowledge-based business. Hes promised not to abandon the oil
industry, but to repair its reputation as a climate villain.
Thats also the declared goal of companies like Cenovus, whose
Chief Executive Officer Brian Ferguson says he aspires to
eliminate the carbon from producing a barrel of oil.
Microwave Heating
Chhina and colleagues are making a start, experimenting with
simpler ways of melting the nearly solid bitumen buried under the
boreal forest. Solvents like butanes are currently the likeliest
candidates, though microwaves are an intriguing alternative.
Researchers are testing a technology that would fire the
waves into horizontal bore-holes so that theyd heat the
bitumen, like food, without affecting the surrounding
container of rock and sand.
Another oilsands giant, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., is
looking at ways of harnessing the carbon dioxide and heat from
its operations.
Theyre channeled into large tanks of treated waste water, where
they help grow algae under LED lights. The goal is a bio-refinery
whose output could have various uses, from diluent to animal
feed.
29

June 2016

Such techniques may have promise, but the challenge is to


replicate them on a commercial scale.
The oil industry has a faulty memory of how long game-changing
technology development takes, said Tim Marchant, a professor at
the University of Calgarys business school and former head of
BP Plcs operations in Kuwait.
People Forget
People forget how long it takes, the decade or more, to get to
that tipping point, Marchant said. In higher priced environments
theres more scope for experimentation, but at lower costs, it
becomes harder because innovation costs a lot of money.
Its not just research that is expensive.
Workers at Canadas multi-billion dollar plants, in their isolated
locations, earned an average of almost $130,000 a year, 40 per
cent more than the global oil-industry average, according to a
2014 study by Hays Plc.
All told, it costs about $55 to get a barrel out of existing oil-sands
operations, and that will rise to almost $70 for future fields,
according to Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy.
By comparison, some shale producers in the U.S. have whittled
their costs down to $30 and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq can
produce a barrel of oil for about $10.
Thats why the speech by former Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi to
the energy industrys Davos-type gathering in Houston earlier this
year sounded ominous in Alberta. Producers like Canada must
find a way to lower their costs, borrow cash, or liquidate, he said.
Star Trek
Luckily for the oilsands industry, some savings are relatively easy,
according to Mark Oberstoetter, an analyst at WoodMac in
Calgary. Theres Star Trek technology and then theres the low
hanging fruit, he said.
30

June 2016

Those are what attracted General Electric Co. to Calgary, the


industrys de facto headquarters. The corporate calm of GEs
innovation center there, on the 34th floor of a glittering office
tower with views of the Rocky Mountains, feels far removed from
steam and smoke of the oil sands.
Gandeephan Ganeshalingam, leader of the GE team, says
producers can get started on shaving off costs and emissions by
focusing on data. This is an industry that is known to adopt
technology at a slower pace than others, he said.
One of GEs projects will help companies integrate data from their
oilsands operations, to allow timely prediction of the need for
inputs, shut-downs and maintenance.
Ganeshalingam said theres more interest from clients now than
when oil was $100, declining to name any.
Magical Switch
GEs brains trust is just one of many efforts, often uncoordinated,
across Alberta. Companies and universities are involved, and so
are government researchers just as they were in the 1980s,
when Chhina was working at the taxpayer-funded Alberta Oil
Sands Technology and Research Authority.
Larger private-sector ventures include a clean-tech fund cofounded by Cenovus and Suncor Energy Inc., which has set up a
clean-tech fund based in Vancouver. Wal van Lierop of Chrysalix
Venture Partners was involved in that project. He says theres no
need for the industry in Canada to despair, because fossil fuels
wont disappear overnight: Theres not just a magical switch and
then we are in the hydrocarbon world we desire. There will be a
transition period of several decades.

31

June 2016

But he says only technology thats profitable in an oil-price range


of $50 to $65 a barrel is worth pursuing and Canadas not even
close to the kind of mobilization that would require.
The big players in Alberta have to at least triple their efforts in
supporting innovation, he said. With all due respect, I see a little
bit, but its incomparable to other industries that went through
major transformations.
Bloomberg.com

Why India could be the oil markets next big driver


of consumption
JOE
CHIDLEY | May
30,
2016
Car sales have been growing steadily since
2010, at a pace of about two million a year,
and Indias total vehicle fleet has more than
doubled since 2007.

Oils rise to US$50 a barrel earlier this month proved to be shortlived, but at least it suggested that oil prices had established a
new and higher range. We might not be looking at a return to
US$100-a-barrel WTI anytime soon, but prices seem to have
stabilized somewhat, remaining north of US$40 for several weeks
now.
Who knows how long this will last, of course. Support for higher
prices has come at least in part from supply disruptions in
Nigeria and Libya, as well as Alberta, thanks to the Fort
McMurray fires. Recent U.S. Energy Information Administration
data suggest that stockpiles of crude are coming down.
Yet things like supply disruptions are difficult to predict, and even
harder to count on when it comes to having a lasting impact on
the supply glut.

32

June 2016

The better news might be that the other side of the supplydemand imbalance is starting to do what its supposed to do:
There are signs that global demand is picking up.
In the largest oil market in the world, the United States, gasoline
consumption is growing strongly. Perhaps thats not a surprise,
given robust employment growth and the beginning of the
summer driving season.
Meanwhile, investor concerns over a hard landing in China the
worlds second largest oil consumer have eased somewhat,
and that has stabilized prices.
But its in India that the real demand story may be playing out.
Last year, average oil demand growth in India came in at 300,000
barrels per day a record high, and double the historical
average of 150,000 bpd, according to a recent paper by Amrita
Sen and Anupuama Sen at the Oxford Institute for Energy
Studies.
That surge in demand growth is expected to mean that India will
soon surpass Japan as the second largest oil consuming
economy in Asia (after China), and the third biggest oil consumer
in the world if it hasnt passed that mark already.
Whats driving this demand? On a general level, Indias economy
is outpacing its Asian neighbours and much of the rest of the
world. In 2015, Indias GDP grew by 7.3 per cent (officially, at
least there is always some debate about the reliability of the
numbers), compared with 6.9 per cent for China (similar
skepticism applies).
Theres no doubt that the plunging price of oil has been a windfall
for Indias economy, as a large importer of crude, as well as for
Indians themselves, more of whom are able to afford selftransport.
Car sales have been growing steadily since 2010, at a pace of
about two million a year, and Indias total vehicle fleet has more
than doubled since 2007.
33

June 2016

The Oxford paper points out that cars are only one part of Indias
vehicle fleet, and that sales of two-wheelers have been even
stronger. That suggests the motorization of India has been
relatively well-distributed among the middle class, and not just
restricted to the wealthy.
The big question, of course, is whether a return to high oil prices
will stop this growth in demand. Yet the papers authors point out
a couple reasons to think it has legs.
One is that in the tightly controlled retail petrol market in India,
consumers have not fully benefited at the pump from the decline
in oil prices. They also point to the governments massive
infrastructure investments in roads a construction program that
is building 30 kilometres of new road a day, making it easier for
Indians to get around on their own.
Finally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked on a
program to radically increase manufacturings share of Indias
economy by 2022. Sen and Sen conservatively estimate that
transition, if successful, will result in Indias oil demand increasing
by one third.
The Oxford authors postulate that the increasing motorization of
India and the governmental commitment to manufacturing are an
echo of China in the early 2000s, and suggest that Indias
economy may be poised for take-off.
Now, this needs to be put in perspective. Per capita oil
consumption in India in 2014 was less than 10 per cent of that in
the United States; its per capita GDP is about three per cent of
the U.S.s and less than a quarter that of China.

No doubt, India still has a long way to go if it is going to change oil


markets and rival China as a land of hope for the global economy.
But the important point is, it seems to be moving in that direction.
34

June 2016

IndiScan
Government plans to begin marginal oil, gas fields
auction
By Sanjeev Choudhary, ET Bureau | 22 Apr, 2016,

The government is planning to begin the process to auction


marginal oil and gas fields in a month after delaying it for several
months due to lower oil prices, an oil ministry official said.The
government is planning to begin the process to auction marginal
oil and gas fields in a month after delaying it for several months
due to lower oil prices, an oil ministry official said.
NEW DELHI: The government is planning to begin the process to
auction marginal oil and gas fields in a month after delaying it for
several months due to lower oil prices, an oil ministry official has
said.
The oil ministry will hold a meeting next week to finalize a timeline
for the auction, after which officials will begin a roadshow,
showcasing small discovered fields to potential investors, the
official said.
35

June 2016

Last year, the government unveiled a new policy for 69 small


discovered fields that had remained undeveloped for years due to
their limited reserves, high development cost and technological
constraints. All these fields were earlier owned by Oil and Natural
Gas Corp ( ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL). The government will
auction 67 fields divided in about 44 clusters, the official said.
Two fields in the north-east will not be part of the auction.
The fields have been divided into clusters to make them
financially attractive for potential investors as they can then plan
common infrastructure for fields, keeping costs low.
The auction will test the potency of some of the key policy
changes introduced by the government lately in the exploration
and development sector to attract investors. The government has
offered companies the marketing freedom for gas and introduced
revenue-sharing, instead of profit sharing, between the operator
and the government in its marginal field policy. These changes
have now also been introduced in the policy for bigger oil and gas
blocks.
The government is pushing for higher oil production at home that
has declined for the past four years and covers less than 20% of
the country's oil consumption. Prime Minister Narendra Modi
wants the industry to cut import dependence to 67% by 2022,
which would require substantial increase in exploration activity.
The government last held auction of oil and gas blocks in 2011,
when 19 major oil and gas blocks were awarded. An oil price
crash has held back the government from auctioning new blocks,
fearing lower participation by investors.
Oil prices have lost about two-thirds in two years, prompting
several oil companies across the globe to shelve projects and cut
thousands of jobs.
36

June 2016

Dharmendra Pradhan eyes India's participation in


hydro-carbon sector in Bangladesh
By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | 19 Apr, 2016,
07.47PM ISTt

Cos from both countries are collaborating in the hydrocarbon


sector ranging from trade in petroleum products, exploration work
and consultancy services.Cos from both countries are
collaborating in the hydrocarbon sector ranging from trade in
petroleum products, exploration work and consultancy services.
NEW DELHI: After looking at the West where he was on a threenation tour to Iran and Gulf last week, Oil Minister Dharmendra
Pradhan looked East when he explored India's participation in oil
and gas infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, Indo-Bangla oil
and gas pipeline and finalised India's participation in the two
downstream projects in the neighbouring country during a threeday visit there.
Hoping to enter Bangladesh's largely unexplored hydro-carbon
sector where India's entry was once barred by the erstwhile BNPJamaat regime in Dhaka, Pradhan explored opportunities during
his meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her senior
advisers.

37

June 2016

His visit marked the signing of an MoU on the broad aspects of


cooperation in downstream oil and gas sector opportunities in
Bangladesh between Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and BPC.
Pradhan visited the port city of Chittagong on Tuesday where a
contract was signed for the installation of second unit of Eastern
Refinery Ltd. between Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC)
and Engineers India Ltd. (EIL).
What was unthinkable few years back is slowly becoming a reality
with Indo-Bangla energy partnership gaining momentum.
Companies from both countries are collaborating in the
hydrocarbon sector ranging from trade in petroleum products,
exploration work and consultancy services.
India also supplies 2200 MT High Speed Diesel (HSD) to
Bangladesh from Siliguri Marketing Terminal of Numaligarh
Refinery Ltd (NRL) to Parbatipur Depot of Bangladesh Petroleum
Corporation (BPC). India is planning to continue with the supply of
HSD in a sustainable manner, Pradhan assured Bangla
leadership during this visit.
Indian Oil Corporation Ltd wants to build an LPG bottling plant
jointly with Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation. After meeting
domestic demand in Bangladesh, the rest of the produced gas will
be exported to Tripura. Bangladesh is the seventh largest
producer of natural gas in Asia. Geologists believe the country's
maritime exclusive economic zone holds one of the largest oil and
gas reserves in the Asia-Pacific. Bangladesh has 27 exploratory
hydro-carbon blocks in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
During his meeting with Hasina, Pradhan shared details of Indian
hydrocarbon infrastructure project proposals in Bangladesh,
including setting up of LPG import terminal at Chittagong by
IOCL and sought favourable consideration for creating win-win
situation for both sides. Pradhan also discussed with Hasina the
'Indo-Bangla Friendship Pipeline' and called it as an important
38

June 2016

project for both countries. The Bangla PM sought Indian


investments in the Special Economic Zones.

Niti Aayog singles out 32 loss-making PSUs for


strategic sale
By Yogima Seth Sharma & Dheeraj Tiwari, ET Bureau | 15
Jun, 2016, 04.35AM ISTPost a Comment

A non-priority sector CPSE, once revived, could always be


considered for strategic disinvestment at an appropriate stage,
the Aayog said in its report.A non-priority sector CPSE, once
revived, could always be considered for strategic disinvestment at
an appropriate stage, the Aayog said in its report.
NEW DELHI: Niti Aayog has identified 32 loss-making companies
for strategic disinvestment, including central public sector
enterprises (CPSEs) such as Bharat Pumps & Compressors, Tyre
Corporation of India, Central Inland Water Transport Corporation
and Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals, among others. Of the
32 companies, 10 could see strategic disinvestment right away
while for the other 22 the suggestion is to revive while retaining a
subsequent option for strategic disinvestment.
A senior government official confirmed the development and said
that the list has been submitted to the Prime Minister's office
(PMO). "The government will now look into individual cases along
39

June 2016

with their respective administrative ministries. The firms where we


may get some valuations will be put on the block first," he said.
The government has budgeted Rs 56,500 from disinvestments in
this fiscal, of which Rs 20,500 crore is from strategic sales. In
case of moribund companies, the Niti Aayog recommends quick
disinvestment.

"The idea behind the recommendations is to ensure government


gets rid of non-viable public sector enterprises as huge amount of
money is sinking into these companies," a senior official at the
Aaoyg said. CPSEs have been identified on the basis of their
strategic importance and have been accordingly classified as high
and low priority firms. Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya
chaired the committee on loss-making CPSEs with Aayog's CEO
Amitabh Kant, member Bibek Debroy and secretary of concerned
ministries as its members who met seven times and submitted the
report in three months.
"A non-priority sector CPSE, once revived, could always be
considered for strategic disinvestment at an appropriate stage,"
the Aayog said in its report.
Of the total 74 loss-making companies 26 have been identified for
closure or winding up, five for long-term lease or management
40

June 2016

contract, three have been proposed to be merged with the parent


company while two have been identified for maintaining status
quo.
"In case of subsidiaries the revival process can be approached
through merger with the parent company," the Aayog noted in its
report. Another government official aware of the deliberations said
that any decision regarding strategic sale will be taken once the
Niti Aayog has submitted its recommendations on the strategic
sale policy.
"That is still being discussed. Once that comes up we will explore
various opens of strategic sale," the official said. The government
has already kick started the process to privatise 14 out of 16 lossmaking hotels owned by state-run ITDC.
Last month, tourism and culture minister Mahesh Sharma said
that the process to privatise the 14 hotels has already been
started.

India taking lead to create alliance of gas importers:


Pradhan
PTI, June 14, 2016 | UPDATED 22:05 IST
Mumbai, Jun 14 (PTI) The country is taking the lead for creating
an alliance of gas importers across the world for "reasonable and
affordable" pricing of the fuel, Union Oil Minister Dharmendra
Pradhan today said.
"We must have a cooperation between all the LNG (Liquefied
Natural Gas) and gas consuming countries, we must create a
situation for a reasonable, rational and affordable price. India is
taking the lead to create a network between these major gas
consumers," Pradhan told reporters here today.
Calling gas as an important fuel for the next two decades which
will be an important constituent of the countrys energy basket,
41

June 2016

Pradhan said the state-run Gail is taking the lead in the companyto-company negotiations at the international level.
It is already in touch with companies in Japan and South Korea,
the Minister said, adding that China can also be a partner in the
future.
Pradhan added that according to some estimates, India and
China will account for 90 per cent of the incremental gas demand
in the next two decades.
Addressing the Gateway of India Dialogue, Pradhan said the
country imported 37 per cent of its gas requirements last year.
Commenting on his upcoming Russian visit, Pradhan said he will
be attempting to make the traditionally warm ties more stronger
and added that state-run ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) is in talks to
take another 11 per cent stake in the Vankor oilfield owned by
Ronsneft.
The bidding for the 67 assets offered under the latest NELP will
begin after July 15, once the oil ministry gets done with
roadshows in Guwahati, Bengaluru, Calgary, London, Dubai and
Singapore, he said.
As a potential beneficiary of the Turkeministan-AfghanistanPakistan-India pipeline, New Delhi wants to expedite work on it
faster but geopolitics is a concern, Pradhan added.
When asked about Mahanagar Gas Ltds IPO, he said the city gas
company is bound to grow given the demand for clean fuels in our
cities and wished best for the offering.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modis foreign visits have helped
the energy security agenda and the upcoming one in
Mozambique will help in expediting the commercial exploitation of
the Roboma field.
42

June 2016

Pradhan said the country is also trying to work as an energy hub


in Asia, and is already supplying power to neighbours including
Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan, while negotiations are
also on with Myanmar to supply power.
He also said that the current low prices of oil commodities is a
"new normal" and the buyers will continue to have an upper-hand
in deals. PTI AA HV NRB MKJ

Indian Oil Corp likely to bag 37.5% stake in proposed


JV to manage ATF at airports
The idea of a common fuelling facility with joint ownership is
to allow open access to all fuel suppliers for a fee without
having to erect their own separate facilities.
Sanjeev Choudhary | ET Bureau | 17 June 2016
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is likely to take the largest 37.5% stake in
the proposed joint venture to manage fuelling facilities at all
airports controlled by the The idea of a common fuelling facility
with joint ownership is to allow open access to all fuel suppliers
for a fee without having to erect their own separate facilities.
Reliance Industries (RIL) has also written to the government
seeking equity in the venture and is awaiting a decision, sources
said. In its communication, Reliance Industries has claimed that
the oil ministry had earlier said private players would also have a
role.
Reliance Industries, Indian Oil Corp, HPCL and BPCL declined to
comment on the matter. The proposed joint venture will oversee
about one-third of aviation fuel business in India. The rest is at
Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, where either private
airports solely or in separate joint ventures with state oil firms
manage the fuelling facilities.
Indian aviation market is poised to be the third-largest in the world
43

June 2016

by 2026. Domestic airlines, aided by low fuel prices that account


for about 40% of their operating cost, carried nearly a quarter
more passengers in the first four months of 2016 from a year ago.
Domestic aviation turbine fuel (ATF) sales rose 9% to 6.2 million
tonnes in 2015-16, encouraging oil giant BP to obtain permission
to market jet fuel in India.
Indian Oil Corp has long dominated the ATF business with
storage and fuelling facility at all major airports. Its refineries
located across the country offer it the flexibility needed to place
fuels at airports easily and cheaply while its longstanding
relationships with clients give it an edge in the market. It has more
than 60% market share while private players such as RIL and
Essar Oil account for about 5%.
It is this dominance that made IndianOil a little reluctant to agree
to the idea of a common infrastructure and led to long-drawn
negotiations with AAI, which also wanted the largest share in the
joint venture, according to sources. Airports Authority of India
(AAI), sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. Airports
Authority of India is likely to have a quarter stake while Bharat
Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL)
will have 18.75% each in the joint venture that has been
negotiated for long with the AAI and IndianOil locked in a keen
contest for the larger stake.

Indian Oil Corp slashes oil import tender time by half


IOC, the nation's largest oil firm, used to take 26 hours to decide
on a tender for import of crude oil from spot or current market.
PTI | 19 June 2016,
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has cut by more than half the time it takes
to finalise a crude oil import tender after the government gave
flexibility to state refiners to devise their own crude import
policies.
44

June 2016

IOC, the nation's largest oil firm, used to take 26 hours to decide
on a tender for import of crude oil from spot or current market.
In April, after the Cabinet gave state-owned oil refiners freedom to
devise their own crude import policies, the time has been shrunk
to 12 hours, a senior company official said.
Time for deciding on tenders for export of petroleum products or
fuel has been cut to just 9 hours from previous 35 hours.
"Earlier, we had a three-member committee comprising two
company executives and one senior official of the ministry of
petroleum and natural gas to decide on awarding tenders for
import of crude oil from the spot market.
"Now we have an internal committee which can take decisions
quickly," he said.
The government gave flexibility to oil PSUs to help them secure
cheaper oil cargoes in an oversupplied market.
The new policy almost puts state-owned refiners on par with
private firms like Reliance Industries and Essar Oil.
"We now have greater flexibility but still to operate within the
framework of (anti-corruption watchdog) CVC guidelines," the
official said.
The previous policy limited purchases to a handful of companies,
often leading to PSUs missing out on chance to grab cheap,
distressed cargoes.
Oil PSUs, on an average, import 70-80 per cent of their oil
through annual supply deals, also called term contracts. The
remaining is bought from the spot or current market through
tenders.
45

June 2016

Term imports on official selling price of the exporter country and


there is not much that can be done about it. But operational and
financial autonomy in spot purchases help better margins.
"We imported 63 per cent of our crude oil on term contract and
the remaining 37 per cent from the spot market in 2015-16. This
is compared with 76 per cent term import and 24 per cent spot
purchase in 2014-15," the official said.
Reduced time in deciding tenders helps realise better price, he
added.
India imports about 80 per cent of its crude oil requirements. Last
fiscal, its imports rose 4.6 per cent to 197.43 million tonnes.
As oil prices slid in global markets, the oil ministry last year
encouraged state-owned companies to increase their spot
purchases to take advantage of market conditions. They stepped
up spot purchases which used to be normally 20 per cent of their
total requirement to up to 30 per cent.
The existing policy for import of crude oil was approved by the
Cabinet in 1979. In 2001, the Cabinet cleared amendments to
permit state refiners to buy crude oil from top 10 foreign firms -Exxon (which has merged with Mobil), Shell, BP, Elf (merged with
Total Fina), texaco (merged with Chevron), South Korea's SK,
Chevron, USX of USA, Spain's Repsol and Nippon Mitsubishi of
Japan.

46

June 2016

Honble Minister Of Petroleum and Natural Gas


Inaugurates State-of-the-art Refining Technology At
Honeywell India Technology Center

New technology aimed at enabling Indian refiners to get


more out of each barrel of oil and produce higher-grade,
cleaner-burning diesel
GURGAON, Haryana, India, May 23, 2016 Indian Minister of
Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today
unveiled a new refining technology at Honeywells India
Technology Center, which is dedicated to helping Indian refiners
get more clean transportation fuels from every barrel of oil.
The technology is one of several being developed at the center by
Honeywell UOP, a world leader in developing and licensing
process technologies used in oil refining and the production of
petrochemicals and renewable fuels in India and globally. The
company has invested about $40M at the facility, which is one of
the main technology development hubs for Honeywell UOP
outside the U.S. It also develops technologies for other Honeywell
businesses in the region.
The Indian government is committed to innovation and being an
early adopter of technologies to drive growth for the country. I am
pleased to launch this new Honeywell technology today,
47

June 2016

dedicated to making Indian refiners more competitive and


efficient, Shri Pradhan said.
The technology inaugurated at the event is a pilot plant
specifically designed to develop advanced hydrocracking
catalysts that can more efficiently produce higher yields of cleanburning diesel fuel from crude oil. The technology can allow
Indian refiners to get more from each barrel of oil, helping reduce
imports of crude oil while producing environmentally preferable
diesel fuels.
The Honble Prime Ministers visionary call to realize a 10
percent reduction in the countrys crude imports by 2022 has
already set a challenge before the Indian hydrocarbon sector,
making this advanced hydrocracking technology the solution of
choice to help meet this goal and meet the growing demand for
energy in India, said Steven C. Gimre, Managing Director, UOP
India Private Limited.
In the past, Honeywell UOP has helped India meet its goal for
production of petrol and diesel in the 1980s and to implement
Euro III and Euro IV fuel specifications in the 1990s. Today,
Honeywell UOPs technologies are deployed in every refinery in
India. More than half the countrys oil and more than 70 percent of
the countrys gasoline are made with Honeywell UOP processes,
and more than 85 percent of the nations biodegradable
detergents are produced using Honeywell UOP technologies.
More recently, Honeywell UOP entered into a collaboration
agreement with Indian Oil Corporations Limited (IOCL) to develop
a range of biofuels technologies.
Honeywell India employs close to 15,000 people to deliver
innovative technologies that help customers improve energy
efficiency, safety, security, and productivity all of which are key
imperatives for India. Honeywell and its employees are creating
solutions and technologies in India, for India, and for the rest of
the world, said Anant Maheshwari, President of Honeywell India.
48

June 2016

Honeywell is aligned with and has a significant Make in India


footprint with seven manufacturing facilities in Chennai,
Dehradun, Gurgaon, Pune and Vadodara, and five technology
and engineering centers in Bangalore, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and
Madurai.
Honeywell has operated in India since 1931, when Honeywell
UOP technologies were used to commission Indias first refinery
in Digboi, Assam. Since then, Honeywell has been helping fuel
the sectors growth working with almost every public sector
undertakings (PSUs) in the oil and gas sector.

Energy to lay Jaigarh Goa-Mangalore gas pipeline


The 635-km pipeline will run from Jaigarh in Ratnagiri district
to Panjim in Goa and onwards to Karwar and Udupi in
Karnataka before terminating at Mangalore.
PTI | 14 June 2016,
H-Energy Pvt Ltd, a unit of real estate player Hiranandani Group,
today said it has bagged rights to lay a gas pipeline from Jaigarh
in Maharashtra to Goa and Mangalore.
The 635-km pipeline will run from Jaigarh in Ratnagiri district of
Maharashtra to Panjim in Goa and onwards to Karwar in Uttara
Kannada district and Udupi in Karnataka before terminating at
Mangalore.
The pipeline "will connect major industrial units like refineries,
fertilizer plants, petrochemical plants and power plants in the
south-western coastal stretch of Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Goa,
Karwar, Udupi and Mangalore," a company statement said.
It will also act as a gateway for development of city gas
distribution (CNG) networks in the region to provide
49

June 2016

environmentally benign fuel (CNG) for transport and piped


cooking gas to households.
"H-Energy Pvt Ltd (HEPL) has been selected by the Petroleum
and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) of India for grant of
authorization for the Jaigarh-Goa-Mangalore natural gas pipeline
through a process of competitive bidding conducted by the
PNGRB," the statement said.
H-Energy Gateway Pvt Ltd (HEGPL), an affiliate of HEPL, is
setting up a 4 million tons per annum floating LNG import terminal
at Jaigarh port in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.
"All major clearances, port agreements and technical studies
have been completed and the project is expected to be
commissioned in the second quarter of 2018, under an early
commissioning program through a 60 km tie-in pipeline from
Jaigarh to Dabhol," it said.
PNGRB had invited bids for development of the pipeline on March
17 and financial bids of the technically qualified bidders were
opened on April 28.
"It is estimated that the Jaigarh-Goa-Mangalore natural gas
pipeline will be ready for delivering natural gas to the connected
customers of the west coast by mid-2019," the statement said.

Government weighs doubling capacity of LNG import


terminal
Plans to set up new terminals and expand existing facilities
will push up LNG terminal capacity to 47.5 mmtpa by 2022
from the current 21.3 mmtpa.
Sanjeev Choudhary | ET Bureau | 07 June 2016

50

June 2016

India plans to more than double its liquefied natural gas (LNG)
import terminal capacity in six years to cater to the rising natgas
demand from refineries, fertilizer and power plants.
Plans to set up new terminals and expand existing facilities will
push up LNG terminal capacity to 47.5 million metric tonne per
annum (mmtpa) by 2022 from the current
21.3 mmtpa, according to an oil ministry
document.
In 2015-16, the natural gas consumption
in the country rose barely 2 per cent to
52 billion cubic meters, of which 40 per
cent was imported as LNG. But in the
last few months, the consumption has soared, rising 14 per cent
in April, banking on cheaper imports that rose 45 per cent. As
the economy expands and industries and households increase
their consumption of natural gas, the dependence on imported
LNG will only increase since the domestic output has been
declining for years. A three-fourths collapse in natural gas prices
in two years has made imports attractive.
The fertilizer and power sectors have been key consumers of the
natural gas in the country, depending mostly on domestic output,
while refineries and petrochemicals plants have relied more on
imported gas.
The imported gas is liquefied at source and carried by ships to
LNG import terminals where it is regassified for further supply.
With expanding need for imports, Indian also needs to add more
LNG terminal capacity.
Currently, there are four LNG terminals at Dahej and Hazira in
Gujarat, Dabhol in Maharashtra and Kochi in Kerala. The
recently-built Kochi terminal is barely functional due to the delay
in the construction of pipeline planned to connect the terminal
with the consumers.
51

June 2016

The capacity at Dahej is expected to expand to reach 15 million


tonne by the year end from 10 million tonne at present, and
further to 17.5 million tonne in future, according to the oil ministry
document.
A new LNG terminal at Ennor in Tamil Nadu, being built by staterun Indian Oil Corporation, with a capacity of 5 million tonne, is
expected to be completed in three years.
Adani group is developing a 5 million tonne capacity at Dhamra in
Odisha while Shell and GAIL plan to set up a 5 million tonne
terminal at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.

OIL-led consortium inks deal for 24% stake in Vankor


oil field
The stake acquired by OIL-led consortium is in addition to
the 15 per cent interest picked up by ONGC Videsh Ltd in the
Vankor oilfield for $1.268 billion.
PTI | 22 June 2016
A consortium led by Oil India has signed an agreement to acquire
23.9 per cent stake in Russia's second biggest oil field of Vankor
from Rosneft.
The deal is valued at $2 billion.
The stake acquired by OIL-led consortium is in addition to the 15
per cent interest picked up by ONGC Videsh Ltd in the Vankor
oilfield for $1.268 billion.
"Indian consortium, led by OIL, along with Indian Oil Corp and
Bharat PetroResources Ltd, a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum
Corp Ltd (BPCL), signed definitive agreement to acquire up to
23.9 per cent shares from Rosneft Oil Co in JSC Vankorneft, a
company organised under the law of Russian Federation which is
52

June 2016

the owner of Vankor and North Vankor field licenses," OIL said in
a statement.
The deal is expected to close by September 2016.
The 23.9 per cent stake would be split in the ratio 33.5-33.5-33
between IOC, OIL and BRPL (IOC and OIL picking up 8 per cent
stake each while the remaining 7.8 per cent stake would go to
BRPL).
Rosneft holds 85 per cent shares in Vankor while ONGC Videsh
Ltd (through its subsidiary) holds 15 per cent at present.
Vankor field, located in East Siberia, is Russia's second largest
field by production and accounts for around 4 per cent of Russian
production and currently producing about 422,000 barrels of oil
per day.
"It is the largest of the fields, discovered and commissioned in
Russia during the last 25 years and is located in the North of
Eastern Siberia in Turukhansk district of the Krasnoyarsk
Territory, 142 km away from Igarka town," the statement said.
The recoverable resources of the Vankor field as of January 1
stood at 361 million tonnes of oil and condensate and 138 billion
cubic meters of gas.
"With the closure of the Vankor deal, IOC's equity oil portfolio will
go up by 1.6 million tons per annum," it said.
Further, Rosneft has agreed to sell another 11 per cent stake in
Vankor to OVL. Details of this deal are yet to be finalised.
The acquisitions have significant strategic importance to India,
both in terms of augmenting energy security as well as enhancing
its stature in the global political and economic arenas, the
statement added.
53

June 2016

GlobeScan
Exxon CEO says high debt levels muddy potential
shale acquisitions
Wed May 25, 2016 5:36pm GMT Print
DALLAS May 25 (Reuters)
Exxon Mobil Corp Mobil chief executive Rex Tillerson said the
high levels of debt taken on by U.S. shale players had diminished
their value as potential acquisitions, noting that the company
continued to consider buying individual assets.
* "At this point, I would not want to suggest that anything's
imminent with anyone," Tillerson said at a press conference after
Exxon's annual general meeting, in response to Reuters question
about potential shale deals.
* "A lot of companies have taken on a lot of debt. As they've done
that, part of the value has been diminished," Tillerson said.
* "We continue to find value in certain assets that become
available and we continue to look at those," Tillerson said.

500 New Jobs as BP Commits to 40 Years in the North


Sea
Published in Oil Industry News on Friday, 3 June 2016

54

June 2016

BP delivered a massive jobs boost today along with a


commitment to stay in the North Sea sector for the next four
decades.
The energy giant has vowed to create 534 jobs with two largescale projects to the west of Shetland.
The installation of the modules for its Clair Ridge platform and the
imminent arrival of the storage vessel Glen Lyon has been hailed
as a once in lifetime double win for the region.
Combined they are expected to unlock one billion barrels of oil
over the next 40 years.
And in a vote of confidence for the struggling industry, BP boss
Mark Thomas said: This is our home.
This is where BP has matured and we feel this is our backyard.
North Sea oil industry will recover in 5 years - Ian Wood
It is good news for the oil and gas sector which has been driven
down by plummeting oil prices over the past two years, leading to
fears that the industry could collapse.
More than 65,000 jobs have gone with more redundancies in the
pipeline across the sector due to numerous projects being put on
hold.
Operators have slashed costs as profit margins have dropped
significantly over the past two years.
However, Mr Thomas said BP classed the west of Shetland as a
growth opportunity and an area the oil and gas firm wanted to
invest in.

55

June 2016

The new jobs are linked to the hook-up and commissioning of the
two projects with the work expected to last 18 months.

IHS report: Latin Americas PE deficit to widen in next


decade
June 6, 2016 | Francinia Protti-Alvarez
Latin America's annual polyethylene (PE) deficit will reach 5
million m.t. by 2025, increasing 67% from the current deficit level,
and the region's current PE demand exceeds 7 million m.t.,
according to a recently published IHS Chemical special report,
Latin American Polyethylene Market: Supply Shortfalls, the
Growing Opportunity. PE demand is growing in the region
because of the expanding middle class. The regions current and
planned PE capacity will, however, continue to fall short of
demand, driving the region to import approximately 50% of its PE
needs.
Read more at:
http://www.chemweek.com/sections/basic_chemicals_plastics/79
778.html?utm_source=Basic+Chemicals+and+Plastics+News&ut
m_medium=email&utm_campaign=20160621-basic-chem-ins

Alberta's Petrochemical
receives 16 applications

Diversification

Program

June 8, 2016 | Francinia Protti-Alvarez


Albertas Petrochemicals Diversification Program has received 16
applications locally and worldwide, representing more than $20
billion in potential new investment interest in Albertas
petrochemical industry, the province's ministry of energy has
confirmed. Applications to the program closed on 22 April. The
number of applications to this program roughly doubled the
amount we expected. By investing in new ways to get every bit of
value out of our energy resources, we are positioning Alberta to
56

June 2016

be a major player
petrochemicals.

in

the

growing

global

demand

for

Read more at:


http://www.chemweek.com/markets/basic_chemicals/petrochemic
als/79924.html?utm_source=Basic+Chemicals+and+Plastics+Ne
ws&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20160621-basic-chemins

Angolas State-Run Sonangol Confirms More Oil And


Gas In Major Discovery
By James Burgess - Jun 22, 2016, 4:32 PM CDT

Angolas state-run oil giant Sonangol, recently taken over by the


presidents daughter, has announced a gas discovery in the
offshore Kwanza Basin that could hold 813 million barrels of oil
equivalent, news agencies report.
The discovery is in Block 20/11 and BP Plc holds an interest in
this block along with the Angolan state company.
According to Sonangol, the block holds an estimated 313 million
barrels of condensate and 2.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

57

June 2016

Despite Angolas dire economic straits, this is the seventh recent


discovery.
This follows up on the initial news of the discovery, announced in
April by Sonangol and later in May by U.S. operator Cobalt.
Cobalt had unveiled the discovery of condensates and natural
gas in the Zalophus #1 well in Block 20 offshore Angola, in the
sixth pre-salt discovery offshore Angola, and the third such in this
same block.
The new estimates are significantly higher than earlier estimates.
When the initial discovery was made in late April, Sonangol had
stated: The test results confirm the presence of gas and
condensate, and estimated post-drilling resources of 139 million
barrels of condensate and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, for a total
of 570 million barrels of oil equivalent
Cobalt is currently the operator of the block with a 40 percent
stake in partnership, while state-run Sonangol holds 30 percent
and BP Exploration Angola holds 30 percent.
In April, Sonangol also discovered huge reserves of oil and
natural gas, which according to initial estimates could produce up
to 2 million barrels a day for three years.
Sonangol has not given the country any revenues since January,
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said Wednesday on
the sidelines of the Council of Ministers economic meeting, the
Associated Press reported.
Africas largest oil producerhaving recently overtaken Nigeria,
whose production has dropped due to a resurgence of Niger
Delta militancyis reeling from low oil prices, with oil comprising
about 45 percent of its GDP and over 95 percent of its exports.
Earlier in June, the president appointed his daughter, Isabel dos
Santos, to run Sonangol amid much controversy.

58

June 2016

OPEC reveals oil output volumes in 2015


22 June 2016, By Aygun Badalova
OPECs (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) oil
output was 32.315 million barrels per day in 2015, as compared
to 31.38 million barrels per day in 2014, says the cartels annual
bulletin issued June 22.
Over the past year, OPECs oil output increased by three percent.
Oil production in Saudi Arabia, the largest producer and exporter
of oil in the cartel, was 10.192 million barrels per day in 2015,
according to OPEC data.
Meanwhile, oil output in Libya was 403,900 barrels per day in
2015, in Iraq 3.504 million barrels per day and in Iran 3.151
million barrels per day.
The cartels total oil output volume decreased by 100,000 barrels
per day to 32.36 million barrels per day in May 2016, according
to OPECs Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) for June 2016.

World gas production increases OPEC


23 June 2016, By Elena Kosolapova
The
world
marketable
gas
production has increased by 1.9
percent and neared 3.644 trillion
cubic meters in 2015, as compared
to 2014, according to OPEC Annual
Statistical Bulletin 2015.
The US became the largest marketable gas producer in 2015.
The countrys marketable gas production increased by 5.3
percent in a year and stood at 768.83 billion cubic meters. Russia
ranked second, as it produced 637.39 billion cubic meters of
marketable gas in 2015, or 0.9 percent less than in 2014.
59

June 2016

Iran ranked third in terms of the volume of marketable gas


production, as the country increased the production by 6.5
percent and brought it to 226.67 billion cubic meters in 2015.
Iran was followed by Qatar which produced 178.47 billion cubic
meters of marketable gas in 2015, or 2.5 percent more than in
2014.

Russia, Venezuela discuss oil production freeze


Leading oil producers, including Russia, failed to agree on
output production cuts at a meeting in Doha in April. The
idea of an output cap was initially suggested in January,
when oil prices hit a 13-year low of $27 per barrel due to
oversupply.
Reuters | 16 June 2016, 12:27 PM IST
ST' PETERSBURG: Russian
Energy
Minister
Alexander
Novak said on Thursday he
discussed plans for a possible
oil production freeze with his
Venezuelan counterpart Eulogio
del Pino on the sidelines of the
St
Petersburg
International
Economic Forum.
"We discussed the possibility of coordination and further work. If
the current situation (on the global oil market) deteriorates, we will
return to the possibility of further consultations (on a freeze),"
Novak said about his meeting with del Pino on Wednesday.
Leading oil producers, including Russia, failed to agree on output
production cuts at a meeting in Doha in April. The idea of an
output cap was initially suggested in January, when oil prices hit a
13-year low of $27 per barrel due to oversupply.
Since then the prices have recovered to trade at around $50 per
barrel.
60

June 2016

TrendScan
OPEC Sees Global Oil Market Balancing Toward the
End of 2016
Grant Smith
OPEC predicted that the global oil market will be more balanced
in the second half of this year as demand rises and rival supplies
falter, echoing views expressed by ministers at the groups
meeting this month.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries kept
estimates for world supply and demand in 2016 unchanged in its
monthly market report. Disruptions in Nigeria reduced the groups
output to 32.36 million barrels a day last month, a little below the
32.6 million average required to satisfy estimated demand in the
second half.
The expected improvement in global economic conditions should
result in a more balanced oil market toward the end of the year,
the organizations Vienna-based research department said in a
report. The excess supply in the market is likely to ease over the
coming quarters.
Oil has surged about 80 percent from a 12-year low in February
as the global glut is trimmed by unexpected disruptions and a
slide in U.S. output. OPEC didnt set any output targets when its
13 members met on June 2 as the organization sticks with Saudi
Arabias strategy of pumping without limits to squeeze rival
producers.

61

June 2016

Output from the 13 nations slipped by 99,800 barrels a day last


month as militant attacks curbed supplies from Nigeria.
Membership will swell to 14 countries in July with the readmission of Gabon, which pumps about 200,000 barrels a day.

Shale Oil Seen Stifling OPECs Classic MarketBalancing Role


Wael Mahdi Mohammed Sergie , Bloomberg. May 25, 2016
The surge in the global supply of shale oil has curbed OPECs
ability to balance crude markets, a former Qatari energy minister
said.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was able to
balance the market in the past because output from shale oil
deposits in the U.S. and other non-OPEC nations was
insignificant, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah told reporters at an
industry event in Doha.
OPEC cant act as swing producer because it will lose market
share, he said Wednesday, referring to the groups traditional
practice of varying output to manage crude prices. Al-Attiyah was
energy minister of Qatar, an OPEC member, from 1992 to 2011.
Crude prices tumbled more than 75 percent from their 2014 peak
due to a global glut fed partly by production at shale deposits in
the U.S. OPEC, which pumps about 40 percent of the worlds oil,
meets in Vienna on June 2 to assess its output policy. The group
is unlikely to set a production target as it sticks with Saudi
Arabias strategy of squeezing out rivals such as higher-cost
shale drillers, according to all but one of 27 analysts surveyed by
Bloomberg.
Market Forces
Frankly, I dont expect anything from the next OPEC meeting
because, rightly, OPEC decided not to play against the market,
62

June 2016

Claude Mandil, a former executive director of the International


Energy Agency, said at the same event. Market forces are too
strong now, and you cant play against those forces when they
are strong.
Crude has surged more than 80 percent from a 12-year low
earlier this year on signs the global oversupply will ease amid
declining output in Nigeria and non-OPEC countries including the
U.S. Brent for July settlement gained 33 cents, or 0.7 percent, to
$50.07 a barrel on Thursday on the London-based ICE Futures
Europe exchange.
The issue now for OPEC members is how to diversify your
economy from oil and gas, Mandil told reporters in the Qatari
capital. Mandil headed the IEA, a watchdog agency for the
worlds most industrialized countries, from 2003 to 2007.
Al-Attiyah estimated current global inventories at about 5 billion
barrels of oil, including crude in floating storage, and said the
market is oversupplied by about 1.5 million barrels a day.
No Benefit
Just to cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day and the next
day the price goes up and the other producers will take the whole
share -- there is no benefit for OPEC in that, he said.
High oil prices in recent years were an incentive for many highcost fields to be tapped, Al-Atiyyah said. If shale oil companies
were to collapse due to financial strain imposed by low prices, this
might cause another crisis like the one in 2007 and 2008, as
many of them owe large debts to banks, he said.
OPEC cant go out and fight on behalf of others, he said. You
have one market. You dont have an OPEC market and a nonOPEC market.

63

June 2016

Asias Upcoming LNG Demand Centre


With LNG flooding into the global market, many in the industry are
trying to figure out one essential question: exactly where is all the
oversupply going to go? The traditional markets in which LNG has
thrived seem to be faltering, but theres one demand hub which
offers huge reward potential for those willing to take the risks.
By Harry Riley-Gould
With LNG flooding into the global market, many in the industry are
trying to figure out one essential question: exactly where is all the
oversupply going to go? The traditional markets in which LNG has
thrived seem to be faltering, but theres one demand hub which
offers huge reward potential for those willing to take the risks.
Who Will Buy LNG Oversupply?
Who will buy LNG oversupply? The most frequently cited market
is Europe. With its extensive pipeline network, standardised
pricing, and regasification capacity, the continent is well placed to
soak up LNG on the cheap. However, it is precisely Europes
infrastructural advantages which make it so easy for Russian
pipeline gas to price relatively expensive LNG out of the market.
Whilst there are a few nations that are looking to install
regasification capacity such as Lithuania, which recently
entered the LNG market via the FSRU Independence at Klaipeda
the motivation for this switch is frequently geopolitical in nature
and is not applicable to the majority of Europe. Twin this with
uncertain economic performance across the EU and you end up
with a limited potential for LNG demand growth.
The East Asian market, meanwhile, is actively seeing a drop in its
demand, due to weak economic performance in China and the
restart of nuclear capacity in Japan. New markets are opening up
particularly in South-East Asia but hardly in quantities which
can make up for the simultaneous supply growth and demand
drop in LNGs traditional demand centre.
64

June 2016

Looking South
All of this has led to the wave of pessimism that has recently
overwhelmed LNG market analysis. However, there is one market
which is frequently overlooked and in which the potential for
growth is enormous.
That market is South Asia. Already, the South Asian market is
one of the fastest growing LNG markets in the world. Indias
demand for gas is set to explode over the next decade, as
ambitious city gas distribution networks are rolled out across the
country. Meanwhile, the enormous economic growth rate,
expected to average around 8-9% in the coming years, has a twopronged effect on gas demand. High growth rates means high
demand for power, much of which will be fuelled by gas. India is a
nation of 1.2 billion, 400 million of which are currently not
connected to power, something the government is seeking to
change in the coming years. Similarly high economic growth will
bring with it a greater demand for agricultural products, similarly
boosting the need for fertiliser an industry that is a key importer
of LNG in India.
There are a few obstacles to overcome in India mainly
competition with cheap coal, and infrastructure. However, the fact
is that in order to meet its carbon reduction commitments, India
must move away from coal, and the most efficient way to do this
is through gas. Ultimately the picture in India is one in which high
gas demand will wildly outstrip domestic supply, paving the way
for enormous LNG expansion.
Other Possible Export Destinations
Furthermore, India is not the only market in South Asia set to
open up in the coming years. Pakistan has entered the LNG
industry extremely recently, through long-term agreements with
Rasgas. Pakistans government is currently pursuing a hyperaggressive procurement policy, looking to capitalise on cheap
prices and develop an extensive LNG import capacity whilst the
goings good.
65

June 2016

Meanwhile in Bangladesh, strong progress is also being made in


developing to FSRU projects intending to supply the nation with
LNG. Bangladesh is a perfect market for LNG due to a
combination of high demand and declining domestic supply, and
in the coming years Bangladeshs imports are set to skyrocket.
Looking Forward
What this means overall is a significant shift in LNG demand
centres. Anyone with knowledge of the South Asian LNG market
knows that there are obstacles that need to be overcome, but
what we are currently seeing is the potential development of a
hub in South Asia, to complement the East Asian and European
markets. This would open up the possibility of swaps between
European and Eastern markets through Indian ports, and overall
would be an important international node promoting liquidity of the
global market. With low prices strengthening the cause for
investment into South Asian LNG infrastructure, the coming years
will revolutionise global LNG trading dynamics; for India,
Bangladesh and Pakistan, things are looking up.
This content is provided by LNG Trading Network for
informational purposes only, and it reflects the market and
industry conditions and presenters opinions and affiliations
available at the time of the presentation.

What if crude hits $50 and go beyond: Experts


By Kshitij Anand, ECONOMICTIMES.COM | 18 May, 2016
NEW DELHI: Stable macros that the domestic market was
banking upon may well see some shakeup if crude oil prices
break the $50 a barrel barrier or go beyond, say experts.
A rally in crude oil is definitely good for equity markets, not just in
India but across the globe. But a rally beyond $50 a barrel could
well start hurting Indian macros, which have remain stable
compared with other emerging market economies (EMs).
66

June 2016

A rally in crude oil prices can be beneficial for exporting nations


and negative for importers such as India. India (India) imports
close to 80 per cent of crude requirement and any move beyond
$50-60 a barrel level will not come as a good news for Finance
Minister , who has already committed to follow the fiscal
consolidation path and target a fiscal deficit of 3.5 per cent for
FY17.
Crude oil prices have already rallied more than 50 per cent
they hit 12-year lows of below $30
Crude oil below $30/barrel was not great news to anybody.
Investors should understand that a decline in global commodity
prices came as a bad news for oil producing nations such as gulf
countries, Brazil, South Africa etc. which were not able to produce
oil at break even prices.
Crude oil prices rallied on account of disruptions from a
combination of factors such as outage in Nigeria, Venezuelan, the
decline in US production and virtually frozen inflows of Canadian
crude after wildfires in Alberta's oil sands region, said a report.
The disruptions triggered a U-turn in the outlook for the oil market
from Goldman Sachs , which had long warned of a crash to as
low as $20 per barrel. "It cautioned that at around $50 a barrel,
supply could flip back into a into a surplus in the first half of 2017
if exploration and production activity picks up," the report added.
"As far as India is concerned $50 a barrel is not bad because I
think the government has factored in roughly $45 to $50 a barrel.
To that extent it might suggest that the world economy is looking
up," Bhaskar Panda, Senior Regional Head - Treasury Advisory,
HDFC BankBSE 0.65 % said in an interview with ET Now.
Crude oil at $50 a barrel also means that pr
Crude oil at $50 a barrel also means that prices of other
commodities will also move higher, demand will pick up and to
67

June 2016

that extent India will be in a very sweet spot, say, experts.


However, a move beyond $50/bbl could spell trouble.
"I just hope that it does not surge beyond $50/bbl because if it
goes back anywhere remotely near the levels that we saw in 2014
then we are in great trouble," he added.

With crude oil is Hard times ahead ?


May or may not be. Depends on which way oil producing
countries go.
The Modi govts strategy has been simple: hike excise duty on
crude oil to rake in a windfall in times of resource crunch to create
capital asset.
Chiranjivi
2016,

Chakraborty | ECONOMICTIMES.COM | 02

June

File PhotoNEW DELHI: Besides the outgoing US President


Barack Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had another
dear friend through his tenure, crude oil.
On May 26, 2014 when Modi assumed office, Brent oil prices
stood at $105 a barrel, today they stand at $50.
In the first 18 months of his tenure, crude oil prices plunged to
their 13-year lows at $27.10 a barrel in a rare alignment of stars
that has allowed the Modi government enough leg room to make
a big push in areas like infrastructure, rural sector and social
welfare.
So far, so good.
Hike excise, benefit India
The Modi government's strategy has been simple: hike excise
duty on crude oil to rake in a windfall in times of resource crunch
to invest in creating capital asset.
68

June 2016

According to some calculations done by Jefferies India, the


government may have raked in as much as $70 billion through
this phase of low crude oil prices.

Of this windfall, 64 per cent went into the government coffers. The
Modi administration hiked excise duty on petroleum products five
times through FY2016 and by 140 per cent on diesel.
Those windfall gains helped the Finance Minister stick to his fiscal
deficit target of 3.9 per cent in the financial year ending March 31,
2016, and also push spend on critical infrastructure such as roads
and railways besides bolstering the social welfare schemes.
The government became a champion of growth and saviour of
capital expenditure spending in the country because of the plunge
in the black gold.
With the current account deficit and inflation under check, the
Modi government compensated for the lack of big-bang reforms
with big-bang spending.
69

June 2016

But at whose expense?


In recent times, there has been a spike in retail fuel prices, with
petrol prices rising by Rs 4.47 a litre and diesel prices by Rs 6.46
a litre, taking them to their highest levels in a year.
Watch this: on November 1, 2014 retail petrol price in Delhi stood
at Rs 64.24 a litre when the price for Indian crude basket stood at
Rs 5146.16 a barrel, data compiled by ETMarkets.com show.
Today, when the price of the Indian crude basket has almost
halved to Rs 3150.67 a barrel, retail prices in Delhi stand almost
at the same level at Rs 65.6 a litre.
So, you dear reader, have not really benefitted in this equation.
A new headache?
From all indications, the hunky-dory relationship between Modi
and crude oil is set to enter a rough patch.
Ever since it hit a 13-year low of $27.10, the black gold has
rebounded 85 per cent and entered a territory that can turn the
boon situation into bane.
"As oil touches $50 a barrel, India's honeymoon period on
inflation and low current account deficit may get over," Uday
Kotak, Executive Vice-Chairman & MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank,
said in a tweet.
The bigger headache will be a rising oil bill for the end user, as
higher fuel costs may push up prices for other goods and negate
the good work done by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to control
inflation.
It will also raise doubts as to whether the government can meet
its 3.5 per cent fiscal deficit target for FY2017 now that the
windfall from oil prices is all but exhausted.
70

June 2016

The government says it would roll back the excise duty hike if
international oil prices were to hit the $60 mark, which they might
do soon if Saudi Arabia had its way in the ongoing Opec meeting
in Vienna.
According to reports, the Middle Eastern Kingdom plans to revive
the failed plan to freeze output at January level in order to prop up
fuel prices further.
Arvind Sanger of Geosphere Capital Management said he was
probably too cautious in his estimate of oil hitting $60 by the third
quarter of 2016.
"I think oil prices are headed much higher and probably
uncomfortably higher over the next six to 12 months to cross $70
at some point.
So far it has been good, because I think oil prices are moving up
in conjunction with pretty decent demand growth. But I think one
of the risks for India and global markets is that inflation may now
edge upwards," he said

OPEC changes estimates on global proven gas


reserves
June 23, By Aygun Badalova
OPEC has revised down its estimates
on the proven global gas reserves for
end of 2015 by 0.3 percent to 201.967
trillion cubic meters.
According to OPEC Annual Statistical
Bulletin, by end of 2015, Russia holds
the largest proven gas reserves of 49.54 trillion cubic meters. The
cartel kept its estimates for Russias reserves unchanged from
2014.
71

June 2016

Iran, by end of 2015 had the second largest proven gas reserves,
which amounted to 33.5 trillion cubic meters, 1.5 percent more
compared to end-2014.
The third and fourth places belongs to Qatar and US with 24.299
trillion cubic meters and 11.01 trillion cubic meters of proven gas
reserves respectively.
Compared to 2014, the estimates for Qatars reserves have been
revised down by 0.9 percent. The estimates for the US reserves
remained unchanged.

Batteries Storing Power Seen as Big as Rooftop Solar


in 12 Years
Anna Hirtenstein ahirtens, June 13, 2106 Bloomberg
Batteries capable of storing power at utility scale will be as
widespread in 12 years as rooftop solar panels are now,
revolutionizing the way consumers use energy.
QUICK TAKE Batteries
Thats the the conclusion of Bloomberg New Energy Finance,
which forecasts the battery market may be valued at $250 billion
or more by 2040. It expects 25 gigawatts of the devices to be
deployed by 2028, about the size of the small-scale photovoltaic
industry now.
The findings in the
researchers
New
Energy
Outlook
indicate a further
challenge
to
the
traditional
utility
business
model,
where
power
generation
and
distribution
are
72

June 2016

monopolized in a single company. Energy storage devices can be


used to smooth out variable power flows from wind and solar
plants, reducing the need for large, centralized generation plants
fired by fossil fuels.
Falling Costs
Batteries will get a boost as costs drop and developers see the
chance for lucrative new revenue streams, said Julia Attwood,
storage analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Batteries
could offer a whole range of services to the grid -- they have the
flexibility that will allow renewables a larger stake in energy
generation.
Currently, less than 1 gigawatt of batteries are operating on the
grid around the world. By 2040, the industry will mushroom,
storing and discharging 759 gigawatt-hours, BNEF estimates.
The spread of electric cars is driving up demand for lithium-ion
batteries, the main technology for storage devices that are
attached to utility grids and rooftop solar units. Thats allowing
manufactures to scale up production and slash costs. BNEF
expects the technology to cost $120 a kilowatt-hour by 2030
compared with more than $300 now and $1,000 in 2010.

73

June 2016

That would help grid managers solve the intermittency problem


that comes with renewables -- wind and solar plants dont work in
calm weather or at night, creating a need for baseload supplies to
fill the gaps. Today, thats done by natural gas and coal plants,
but the role could eventually be passed to power-storage units.
The researcher estimates 35 percent of all light vehicles sold will
be electric in 2040, equivalent to 41 million cars. Thats about 90
times the figure in 2015. Investment in renewables is expected to
rise to $7.8 trillion by then, compared with $2.1 trillion going into
fossil-fuel generation.
The battery industry today is driven by consumer products like
computers and mobile phones, said Claire Curry, an analyst at
Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New York. Electric vehicles
will be the driver of battery technology change, and that will drive
down costs significantly.

Monsoon to wash away diesel demand surge


The monsoon rains are crucial for farmers, which otherwise
use diesel-powered pump-sets to draw water to irrigate their
land.
Reuters | 16 June 2016,
The monsoon is expected to dump above-average rainfall on the
South Asian nation after two years of drought, cutting its use of
diesel for irrigation pumps and generators over the third quarter
and potentially rejuvenating exports of the oil product.
India is a net exporter of diesel - which accounts for about 40
percent of its oil demand - but a jump in imports by state refiners
since April helped erode an Asian surplus of the fuel, lifting its
regional profit margins to the highest for the year so far at the end
of May.
The state refiners ramped up diesel imports in the second quarter
74

June 2016

after supplies from private oil processors Reliance Industries and


Essar Oil became too expensive in the absence of discounts on
taxes and shipping.
Now, as the rains come and domestic demand drops, diesel
imports could halt and exports rebound.
"During the monsoon demand for diesel sees a blip (down)
because industrial activity slows, transport movement gets
affected and demand from agriculture also reduces," said Tushar
Bansal, a Singapore-based senior consultant at energy
consultancy FGE.
India's weather office has forecast above-average rains in the
four-month season from June. The monsoon rains are crucial for
farmers, which otherwise use diesel-powered pump-sets to draw
water to irrigate their land.
Officials at state refiners, which dominate the local retail fuel
markets, said they also see diesel demand softening during the
monsoon season.
"Major construction activities including road construction virtually
stops during rains, so there is bound to be an impact on diesel
demand," said Y. K. Gawali, head of marketing at Hindustan
Petroleum Corp.
More rain also boosts hydropower generation alleviating
electricity shortages and reducing demand for diesel to power
small diesel generators to keep lights burning.
"We have seen very high diesel demand in April-May. In June
also it is rising. But I expect diesel demand (in the third quarter) to
be 50 percent of the April-June quarter," Gawali said.
A sustained rise in diesel prices as oil markets recover this year is
also putting further pressure on diesel demand.
75

June 2016

Diesel-fuelled vehicles - which were supposed to one of the


driving forces behind rising consumption in India - are as well
faced with court bans over pollution concerns, prompting some
automakers to redraw engine production strategies.
Lower diesel consumption means state refiners will take less from
private and standalone refiners such as Mangalore Refinery and
Petrochemicals Ltd and Chennai Petroleum Corp Ltd to meet
demand.
"To that extent diesel exports will go up. Refiners normally don't
take maintenance shutdown during rains so output is normally
higher and that also boosts exports," Gawali said.
Last year, India's diesel demand grew at an annual 8 percent
during the July-September quarter, according to data posted on a
government website.
This year, FGE estimates, annual diesel demand for the third
quarter could grow just around 1 percent from a year ago to about
1.4 million barrels per day.
The industry still has a long way to go. About 95 percent of the
worlds grid-connected energy storage today is still pumped
hydro, according to the U.S. Energy Department. Thats when
surplus energy is used to shift large amounts of water uphill to a
reservoir so it can be used to produce electricity later at a
hydropower plant. The technology only works in areas with
specific topographies.
There are several larger-scale battery projects in the works,
according to S&P Global. They include a 90-megawatt system in
Germany being built by Essen-based STEAG Energy Services
GmbH and Edison Internationals 100-megawatt facility in Long
Beach, California.
76

June 2016

Utility-scale storage is the new emerging market for batteries,


kind of where electric vehicles were five years ago, said Simon
Moores, managing director at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a
battery researcher based in London. EVs are now coming of
age.

India Keeping tab on Brexit, oil prices : Sinha


"There are a number of risk factors that we routinely
consider. We discussed, for example, what will happen with
oil prices and turmoil in the Middle East. We discussed Brexit
as well, along with the risk factors that India has," : Sinha
PTI | 16 June 2016, 2:29 PM IST

Government is keeping a watch on the global


risk factors to the economy including Brexit,
turmoil in the Middle East and spike in oil prices
in the international market, Minister of State for Finance Jayant
Sinha said today.
"There are a number of risk factors that we routinely consider. We
discussed, for example, what will happen with oil prices and
turmoil in the Middle East. We discussed Brexit as well, along with
the risk factors that India has," he told reporters on the sidelines
of the Rajasva Gyan Sangam.
On June 23, UK will vote on whether to remain in the 28-nation
European Union or to leave. Britain's exit from the EU, or Brexit,
is being debated globally as it could have implications for the
international financial market and exchange rates.
India has significant trade with UK as well as EU. It also receives
large investments from the Europe.
On the possible outcome of the UK vote, Sinha said: "It (opinion
polls) is showing that it will be a close call."
77

June 2016

Another concern, he said, is the turmoil in the Middle East and its
implications on the crude oil prices. As a net importer, India has
significantly benefited from the recent low oil prices, which have
now started inching up. The crude oil price has hit 11-month high
of USD 50 per barrel.
Sinha had earlier said that government's fiscal maths and inflation
calculations would not be impacted if the oil prices stay below the
USD 60 mark.
India, which depends on imports to meet 80 per cent of its oil
needs, will have to spend Rs 9,126 crore (USD 1.36 billion) more
every year for increase of each dollar per barrel in crude oil.
Besides, the rising crude oil trajectory impacts inflation and
growth.
"If oil prices stay in the range that most forecasters are expecting
them to be, which is in the USD 40-60 dollar range, then I think
we will be fine. If it goes beyond that range, then it becomes a
question," Sinha had said earlier.
India spent USD 63.96 billion on crude oil import in 2015-16,
about half of USD 112.7 billion outgo in the previous fiscal and
USD 143 billion in 2013-14. For the current fiscal, the import bill
has been pegged at USD 66 billion at an average import price of
USD 48 per barrel.

Heres How Electric Cars Will Cause the Next Oil


Crisis
A shift is under way that will lead to widespread adoption of EVs
in the next decade.
By Tom Randall | Feb. 25, 2016
With all good technologies, there comes a time when buying the
alternative no longer makes sense. Think smartphones in the past
decade, color TVs in the 1970s, or even gasoline cars in the early
20th century. Predicting the timing of these shifts is difficult, but
when it happens, the whole world changes.
78

June 2016

Its looking like the 2020s will be the decade of the electric
car.
Battery prices fell 35 percent last year and are on a trajectory to
make unsubsidized electric vehicles as affordable as their
gasoline counterparts in the next six years, according to a new
analysis of the electric-vehicle market by Bloomberg New Energy
Finance (BNEF). That will be the start of a real mass-market liftoff
for electric cars.
By 2040, long-range electric cars will cost less than $22,000 (in
todays dollars), according to the projections. Thirty-five percent of
new cars worldwide will have a plug.

This isnt something oil markets are planning for, and its easy to
see why. Plug-in cars make up just one-tenth of 1 percent of the
global car market today. Theyre a rarity on the streets of most
countries and still cost significantly more than similar gasoline
burners. OPEC maintains that electric vehicles (EVs) will make up
just 1 percent of cars in 2040. Last year ConocoPhillips Chief
79

June 2016

Executive Officer Ryan Lance told me EVs wont have a material


impact for another 50 yearsprobably not in his lifetime.
But heres what we know: In the next few years, Tesla, Chevy,
and Nissan plan to start selling long-range electric cars in the
$30,000 range. Other carmakers and tech companies are
investing billions on dozens of new models. By 2020, some of
these will cost less and perform better than their gasoline
counterparts. The aim would be to match the success of Teslas
Model S, which now outsells its competitors in the large luxury
class in the U.S. The question then is how much oil demand will
these cars displace? And when will the reduced demand be
enough to tip the scales and cause the next oil crisis?
First we need an estimate for how quickly sales will grow.
Last year EV sales grew by about 60 percent worldwide. Thats
an interesting number, because its also roughly the annual
growth rate that Tesla forecasts for sales through 2020, and its
the same growth rate that helped the Ford Model T cruise past
the horse and buggy in the 1910s. For comparison, solar panels
are following a similar curve at around 50 percent growth each
year, while LED light-bulb sales are soaring by about 140 percent
each year.
Yesterday, on the first episode of Bloombergs new animated

80

June 2016

series Sooner Than You Think, we calculated the effect of


continued 60 percent growth. We found that electric vehicles
could displace oil demand of 2 million barrels a day as early as
2023. That would create a glut of oil equivalent to what triggered
the 2014 oil crisis.
Compound annual growth rates as high as 60 percent cant hold
up for long, so its a very aggressive forecast. BNEF takes a more
methodical approach in electric vehicles to their component costs
to forecast when prices will drop enough to lure the average car
buyer. Using BNEFs model, well cross the oil-crash benchmark
of 2 million barrels a its analysis today, breaking down few years
laterin 2028.

Predictions like these are tricky at best. The best one can hope
for is to be more accurate than conventional wisdom, which in the
oil industry is for little interest in electric cars going forward.
If you look at reports like what OPEC puts out, what Exxon puts
out, they put adoption at like 2 percent, said Salim Morsy, BNEF
81

June 2016

analyst and author of todays EV report. Whether the end


number by 2040 is 25 percent or 50 percent, it frankly doesnt
matter as much as making the binary call that there will be mass
adoption.
BNEFs analysis focuses on the total cost of ownership of electric
vehicles, including things like maintenance, gasoline costs, and
most importantthe cost of batteries.
Batteries account for a third of the cost of building an electric car.
For EVs to achieve widespread adoption, one of four things must
happen:
1. Governments must offer incentives to lower the costs.
2. Manufacturers must accept extremely low profit margins.
3. Customers must be willing to pay more to drive electric.
4. The cost of batteries must come down.
The first three things are happening now in the early-adopter days
of electric vehicles, but they cant be sustained. Fortunately, the
cost of batteries is headed in the right direction.
82

June 2016

Theres another side to this EV equation: Where will all this


electricity come from? By 2040, electric cars will draw 1,900
terawatt-hours of electricity, according to BNEF. Thats equivalent
to 10 percent of humanitys electricity produced last year.
The good news is electricity is getting cleaner. Since 2013, the
world has been adding more electricity-generating capacity from
wind and solar than from coal, natural gas, and oil combined.
Electric cars will reduce the cost of battery storage and help store
intermittent sun and wind power. In the move toward a cleaner
grid, electric vehicles and renewable power create a mutually
beneficial circle of demand.
And what about all the lithium and other finite materials used in
the batteries? BNEF analyzed those markets as well, and found
theyre just not an issue. Through 2030, battery packs will require
less than 1 percent of the known reserves of lithium, nickel,
manganese, and copper. Theyll require 4 percent of the worlds
cobalt. After 2030, new battery chemistries will probably shift to
other source materials, making packs lighter, smaller, and
cheaper.
Watch the video on You Tube : The Peak Oil Myth and the
Rise of the Electric Car
Despite all this, theres still reason for oil markets to be skeptical.
Manufacturers need to actually follow through on bringing down
the price of electric cars, and there arent yet enough fastcharging stations for convenient long-distance travel. Many new
drivers in China and India will continue to choose gasoline and
diesel. Rising oil demand from developing countries could
outweigh the impact of electric cars, especially if crude prices fall
to $20 a barrel and stay there.
The other unknown that BNEF considers is the rise of
autonomous cars and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft,
which would all put more cars on the road that drive more than
83

June 2016

20,000 miles a year. The more miles a car drives, the more
economical battery packs become. If these new services are
successful, they could boost electric-vehicle market share to 50
percent of new cars by 2040, according to BNEF.
One thing is certain: Whenever the oil crash comes, it will be only
the beginning. Every year that follows will bring more electric cars
to the road, and less demand for oil. Someone will be left holding
the barrel.
Editor: Alex Dickinson
Producer: Bernadette Walker, Justin McLean

Average oil production to decline this year, grow


more slowly in the future: CAPP
Geoffrey Morgan | June 23, 2016 3:58 PM ET
More
from
Geoffrey
Morgan | @geoffreymorgan
Production from Alberta's
oilsands,
the
world's
third-largest
crude
reserves and No. 1
source
of
U.S.
oil
imports, will hit 3.7
million bpd by 2030.
Bloomberg
CALGARY The wildfires
that devastated Fort McMurray and threatened surrounding
oilsands plants will stunt Canadian oil supply growth this year, but
new pipelines are still needed according to the Canadian
Association of Petroleum Producers.

84

June 2016

The industry groups annual


oil
forecast,
released
Thursday,
shows
an
expected decline in average
oil
production
rates
in
Canada this year as a result
of the fires around Fort
McMurray and slower growth
in total production for the next
14 years as a result of lower
commodity prices.
Despite the decline this year and slower than expected growth in
the future, CAPP president and CEO Tim McMillan said the oil
industry is currently producing at the limit of what the countrys
pipeline system can deliver to refineries and that more pipelines
are needed because we are at the cusp today.
Canadas oil pipeline system has the capacity to move 4 million
barrels of oil per day to refineries, and the countrys oil industry is
producing about 3.9 million bpd, he added.
Given current growth projections, production is set to eclipse
pipeline capacity in the middle of next year.
I dont think its particularly healthy to be running at absolute
capacity all the time, McMillan said. We wouldnt accept that in
other facets in our life but that really seems to be where weve
been for the last five to six years.
CAPPs most recent forecast shows Canadian oil production will
rising from its current level of 3.9 million bpd to average 5.54
million bpd in 2030 down sharply from last years estimate of
production close to six million bpd in 2030.
85

June 2016

Despite the trimmed-down forecast, McMillan said that oil


production is still expected to grow more than any single current
pipeline proposal could deliver. On the volume case, absolutely
we need multiple pipelines, he said.
Canadian oil producers have been working for years to build
support for export pipelines that would open new markets for
Canadian oil despite significant opposition. One area where
increasing volumes of Canadian oil are now being processed is
Quebec.
National Bank Financial analyst Stfane Marion said in a research
note Wednesday that foreign oil imports to Quebec had fallen to
their lowest level in nine years thanks to the reversal of Enbridge
Inc.s Line 9 pipeline between Ontario and Quebec.
Domestic oil deliveries into Quebec jumped from under 100,000
bpd in October 2015 to over 200,000 bpd in December though
deliveries have varied widely since that time.
Having finally gained access to cheaper domestic crude oil,
Quebec refineries no longer need to rely as much on more
expensive foreign sources of supply, Marion said. He included
OPEC and U.S. crude sources on his list of more expensive
crudes.
This is translating in significant savings for the province, he
added.
CAPPs report highlights a number of markets, like Quebec,
where Canadian oil shipments are projected to increase, should
new pipelines get built.
McMillan also said China and India will dominate oil demand
growth in the coming years, and emphasized his groups support
for pipeline projects like Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain and
Energy East that would allow domestic oil to make its way to
those markets.
Financial Post
86

June 2016

TechScan
Scientists discover a giant planet that orbits two suns
and could have habitable moons

An artist's impression of the simultaneous stellar eclipse and


planetary transit events on Kepler-1647 b. Such a double
eclipse event is known as a syzygy. (Lynette Cook)
Some worlds have more than one sun in their sky. Now scientists
say they've confirmed the existence of the largest-ever planet
orbiting a pair of binary stars a gas giant with the same mass
and radius as Jupiter. Exoplanets like this one situated in their
stars' habitable zone and massive enough to lasso in many rocky
moons could be an interesting place to go looking for signs of
alien life.
The newly confirmed behemoth has been dubbed Kepler-1647 b,
and it sits 3,700 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. At
an estimated 4.4 billion years old, it's roughly the same age as
Earth. But it's nothing like our home planet. It's what is known as
a circumbinary world one that orbits two suns that dance
together as a binary pair and it's the size of Jupiter, a planet
with a diameter more than 11 times that of Earth's. Its suns are
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June 2016

pretty similar to our own (one is slightly smaller and the other
slightly larger) but, well, there are two of them.

An artist's impression of Kepler-1647b. (Lynette Cook)


At about 2.7 astronomical units (AUs) from its suns (Earth is 1 AU
from ours) Kepler-1647 b is in the habitable zone of its stars. That
means it's in the magic sweet spot that experiences the right
amount of sunlight and heat to allow liquid water to form. But the
planet itself wouldn't actually be home to life as we know it: It's
almost entirely made of gas. If it's anything like the gas giants in
our solar system, however, it likely has dozens of moons and
just like the moons that orbit Saturn and Jupiter, those little rocky
worlds could be great places to look for life like ours.
Scientists find exoplanets by measuring the way the light of their
host stars dim when the planets "transit," or pass in front of the
stars from our perspective. This is way harder to do with
circumbinary planets, or CBP.
"CBPs are harder to detect because their transits are not strictly
periodic," Veselin Kostov, a NASA Goddard postdoctoral fellow
and lead author of a soon-to-be-published study on the planet,
told The Washington Post in an email. "A planet around a single
star is like a clock. For example, if you are outside the solar
system and can see Earth in transit, you'll see the transit every
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June 2016

year. Every 365 days you'll see a tiny decrease in the light from
the Sun as Earth moves across its disk. In contrast, when a
circumbinary planet transits, the consecutive events can be early
or late by many days. Sometimes, the transits of a CBP can even
cease altogether, only to reappear decades, even centuries later,"
he said.
You might think that Kepler-1647 b, being significantly larger than
previously discovered CBP (all around the size of Saturn or
smaller) would make a heftier dim and therefore be easier to spot.
But it was actually pretty hard to pin down: Kepler-1647 b has the
longest orbit of any CBP ever detected. That distance from its
host stars is good news for the potential for life on its moons,
because it keeps them from getting too hot for liquid water. But
since it takes 1,107 days for the planet to complete an orbit, the
transit events that scientists can use to study it are few and far
between.A comparison of previously discovered CBPs. (Lynette
Cook)

A comparison of previously discovered CBPs. (Lynette Cook)


"The first transit was detected way back in 2011, but with one
transit it's hard or impossible to tell what's going on," Kostov said.
"So we had to wait for three years for the planet to transit again,
during which time we kept a close eye in the system, analyzing
the available data and gathering new observations."
Scientists like to study systems with multiple host stars because
they help us understand the myriad ways in which solar systems
can evolve: It's been just a few years since we confirmed that
planets could form in these strange, star-heavy systems, and now
we know that in addition to (relatively) small planets kept in close
orbit, the systems can develop large, slightly further-flung planets.
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June 2016

"Habitability aside, Kepler-1647 b is important because it is the tip


of the iceberg of a theoretically predicted population of large,
long-period circumbinary planets," study co-author William Welsh
of San Diego State University said in a statement.

Graphene Powers Solar Cell Come Sun or Rain


Engineering360 News Desk
Graphene has been called upon to further improve solar cells by
providing these devices with the capability to generate power
when its raining. An all-weather solar cell triggered by both
sunlight and raindrops has been developed by Chinese
researchers who combined an electron-enriched graphene
electrode with a dye-sensitized solar cell.

Solar cell produces power from sun and raindrop impacts.


Image source: Wiley-VCH.
Graphene is a two-dimensional form of carbon in which the atoms
are bonded into a honeycomb arrangement. It can be prepared by
the oxidation, exfoliation and subsequent reduction of graphite.
The material conducts electricity and is rich in electrons that can
move freely across the entire layer (delocalized). In aqueous
solution, graphene can bind positively charged ions with its
electrons (Lewis acid-base interaction), a property used in
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June 2016

graphene-based processes to remove lead ions and organic dyes


from solutions.
This phenomenon inspired researchers from Ocean University of
China and Yunnan Normal University to use graphene electrodes
to obtain power from the impact of raindrops, which contain salts
that dissociate into positive and negative ions. The positively
charged ions, including sodium, calcium and ammonium ions, can
bind to the graphene surface. At the point of contact between the
raindrop and the graphene, the water becomes enriched in
positive ions and the graphene becomes enriched in delocalized
electrons. This results in a double-layer made of electrons and
positively charged ions, a feature known as a pseudocapacitor.
The difference in potential associated with this phenomenon is
sufficient to produce a voltage and current.
The solar cell can be excited by incidental light on sunny days
and raindrops on rainy days, yielding a solar-to-electricity
conversion efficiency of 6.53% under AM 1.5 irradiation and
current over microamps, as well as a voltage of hundreds of
microvolts by simulated raindrops.
To contact the author of this article, email
engineering360editors@ihs.com

The dream of the medical tricorder


Medical technology: The hand-held diagnostic devices seen
on Star Trek are inspiring a host of medical add-ons for
smartphones

WHEN aliens seize and torture Dr McCoy in The Empath, an


episode of the science-fiction series Star Trek, Captain Kirk and
Mr Spock rush to his aid. They are able to assess his condition in
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June 2016

seconds with the help of a medical tricordera hand-held


computer with a detachable sensor that is normally used by Dr
McCoy himself to diagnose others. A quick scan with the tricorder
indicates that he suffers from severe heart damage; signs of
congestion in both lungs; evidence of massive circulatory
collapse.
Along with teleportation, speech-driven computers and hand-held
wireless communicators that flip open, the medical tricorder was
one of many imaginary future technologies featured in Star Trek.
Ever since, researchers have dreamed of developing a hand-held
medical scanner that can take readings from a patient and then
diagnose various conditions. Now, nearly five decades after Star
Trek made its debut in 1966, the dream is finally edging closer to
reality.
Among the organisations pushing for the development of a
medical tricorder is the X Prize Foundation, an organisation that
aims to spur innovation by offering cash prizes. Earlier this year it
announced the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, financed by the
Qualcomm Foundation, the charitable arm of Qualcomm, a maker
of wireless communications technologies. It has put up $10m in
prize money and another $10m to pay for the administration of
the competition. So far more than 230 teams from over 30
countries have applied to enter the contest, the guidelines for
which will be finalised this month. The goal is to create a mobile
platform that will enable people to diagnose a set of 15
conditions, including diseases as varied as pneumonia, diabetes
and sleep apnoea, without having to rely on a doctor or nurse.
Ultimately this is about democratising access to health care
around the world, says Peter Diamandis, the head of the X Prize
Foundation.
But the obstacles to building a medical tricorder are not merely
technological. Regulatory agencies such as Americas Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) may delay or restrict consumers from
getting their hands on such devices, and the medical
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June 2016

establishment, infamous for its inertia, may be wary of granting


patients a more active role in diagnosis. Many doctors do not
believe that patients can be trusted with their own medical data
and are reluctant to give them access to it, explains Eric Topol, a
cardiologist and the author of The Creative Destruction of
Medicine. He believes the push to adopt new digital technologies
in health care will have to come not from doctors but from the
public.
Making self-service diagnostic technology cheaper and more
widely available would, however, have enormous benefits in both
rich and poor parts of the world. The Association of American
Medical Colleges projects that America could have 90,000
doctors fewer than it needs by 2020, as doctors retire, the
population ages and chronic illnesses become more prevalent. All
this will place huge demands on Americas sprawling health-care
system, and threatens to increase health-related spending still
further. Other rich countries are also looking for ways to keep a lid
on rising health-care expenditure.
Paging the real McCoy
In developing countries, meanwhile, large numbers of people live
in rural areas far away from hospitals and medical centres,
reducing access to diagnosis and treatment. There are also far
fewer doctors per capita: around two doctors per 10,000 people in
Africa as a whole in 2010, compared with 33 in Europe. No
country in the world is producing enough doctors and nurses to
satisfy their current or future demands for health care, says
Christopher Wasden, an expert in health-care strategy and
innovation at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a consultancy.
Unless we have consumers doing more of this themselves, its
impossible to deliver care to those people who need it.

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June 2016

AliveCors iPhone ECG


The prospects for creating a medical tricorder have been boosted
enormously by the spread of mobile phones. There are now more
than 6 billion in use around the world, of which around 1 billion
are smartphonesin effect, powerful, internet-capable pocket
computers.
Even without any additional hardware or software, a phone can
be a useful medical device. Some health-care organisations
already send out text messages to patients mobile phones, for
example, reminding them to take their medicine, renew their
prescriptions or visit a doctor. Add some extra software in the
form of downloadable apps, and the cameras and video recorders
built into more advanced handsets can be used as sensors to
measure or track vital signs, such as heart and respiration rates.
Add hardware in the form of sensors that plug into the phone or
connect to it wirelessly, and a phone can become an even more
powerful tool for monitoring and diagnosis.

iBGStars glucose monitor


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June 2016

According to research2guidance, a consultancy, global sales of


mobile-health apps will increase from $718m in 2011 to $1.3
billion this year. Many of these might be more accurately
described as fitness or self-tracking apps that allow people to
monitor their exercise regimes, energy consumption and sleep
patterns, often in conjunction with external sensors. But PwCs
research suggests that consumers want more. They want apps
that really guide their behaviour and can replace a nurse or a
doctor by using intelligent algorithms to guide patients toward
healthier habits, says Mr Wasden. But, he adds, as you add
intelligence to an app, youve increased the likelihood that the
FDA is going to want to review it.
At the moment there is only draft guidance from the FDA on
which medical apps require review. A review is deemed
necessary only for mobile-health apps that are used in
conjunction with already regulated medical devices, or that would
transform a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, into a
regulated medical device, typically in conjunction with sensors or
attachments that help with diagnosis or treatment. The FDA says
its final guidelines will be available by the end of the year. In
addition, it intends to regulate clinical decision-support software,
which helps make diagnoses or recommends treatments. This will
be tackled separately from mobile medical apps, says Bakul
Patel, a policy adviser at the FDA. Draft guidance should be
available in the coming months, he says.
Mr Patel says the FDA wants to encourage innovation while
ensuring patient safety. But not everyone thinks the FDA can
keep up with this burgeoning new field. The technology is
evolving much faster than the regulations are, says Dr
Diamandis.
The amount of money flowing into digital-health start-ups is rising
fast. Rock Health, a non-profit incubator in San Francisco that
tracks deals in this field, says 128 venture-capital firms invested a
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June 2016

total of $1.1 billion in more than 100 digital-health firms in the first
nine months of 2012, an increase of 70% over the $626m
invested in the same period in 2011. The number of deals rose by
84%.

Scanadus Scout
Handset-makers and wireless companies are also investing in
mobile health and the development of mobile diagnostic devices.
Nokia, a large handset-maker, has agreed to sponsor the $2.25m
Sensing X Challenge, another competition being run by the X
Prize Foundation that is intended to speed up the development of
medical sensors for tricorders. And as well as financing the
Tricorder X Prize competition, Qualcomms venture-capital arm
has put money into several promising start-ups in the area,
including San Francisco-based AliveCor, which has developed an
iPhone case with two electrodes that can perform an
electrocardiogram (ECG). Dr Topol recently used a prototype to
assess a fellow passenger on an aircraft who was suffering from
chest pain. He concluded the passenger was having a heart
attack, and the plane was diverted.
Other firms are also developing medical add-ons for
smartphones. MobiSante, based in Redmond, Washington, has
devised a smartphone-based ultrasound system that was granted
FDA clearance in early 2011. A hand-held ultrasonic probe plugs
into a smartphone, which generates and displays an image. It
costs $7,500, a fraction of the price of a conventional ultrasound.
Another smartphone attachment is the iBGStar, a sleek glucosemonitoring device for diabetics that plugs into an iPhone. Sold by
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June 2016

Sanofi, a French drugs giant, it measures glucose levels in blood


using a technology called WaveSense, developed by AgaMatrix,
a firm based in Salem, New Hampshire. A test strip is put into the
device and a drop of blood is applied from a tiny pinprick. The
glucose level appears on a small display and is stored by an app
on the iPhone, allowing for long-term monitoring. It was cleared
by the FDA in December 2011.
These devices do specific things rather than being generalpurpose devices. But Don Jones, head of business development
at Qualcomm Life, argues that they could be regarded as
specialised forms of a medical tricorder. Depending on need and
location, he suggests, a tricorders design could be customised to
perform different tasks. A good example is the CellScope, a
project that originated in 2006 in Daniel Fletchers laboratory at
the University of California, Berkeley, and has since spawned a
start-up with the same name based in San Francisco. The
CellScope is an attachment that turns a smartphone into a
microscope. Several versions with different resolutions have been
developed that allow the technology to be used for different
things.
The academic group is developing versions of the CellScope that
can be used for retinal scans or to detect pathogens, such as
malaria and tuberculosis, by analysing images of slides smeared
with samples of blood or sputum. Fifteen prototypes are currently
being tested at clinics in Vietnam in collaboration with TB Reach,
an initiative of the STOP TB Partnership, which is funding the
project. Together with other academic partners, the group has
developed software to automate the diagnosis of TB when no
doctor is available.
MobiSantes
smartphonebased ultrasound
Meanwhile CellScope, the
start-up, is designing optical
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June 2016

attachments for the American market that turn smartphones into


digital first-aid kits. The first is an otoscope (a device for looking
inside the ear) that clips onto an iPhone. It could be used by
doctors for diagnosis and visual record-keeping, or by parents to
transmit images to paediatricians for the remote diagnosis of
childrens ear infections, which cause millions of visits to the
doctor each year. CellScopes boss, Erik Douglas, says the firm is
conducting a study with doctors from the Atlanta Pediatric Device
Consortium to see how its device compares with standard digital
otoscopes. He hopes it will go on sale next year for less than
$200.
The firm that is making the most tricorder-like gizmo is arguably
Scanadu, based in Mountain View, California, which was among
the first companies to enter the Tricorder X Prize competition. Its
device, like Dr McCoys, consists of a small hand-held sensor unit
that communicates wirelessly with a display unit (in this case, a
smartphone). The sensor unit, called Scout, is placed in contact
with the patients temple and detects a range of vital signs,
including heart and respiration rate, blood oxygenation, pulse
transit time and temperature. The current prototype includes
electrodes to measure the electrical signals of the heart and an
infra-red temperature sensor, among other things. A smartphone
app displays and stores the data.
So far the only blockbuster medical device to have become
commonplace in the home is the thermometer, says Scanadus
boss, Walter de Brouwer. His aim is for the Scout, which is small
enough to be taken anywhere, to achieve similar ubiquity. The
idea is to make the tricorder for the consumer, he explains. He
hopes to have the first version on sale by the end of 2013 for
around $150.
At the same time, the company is developing disposable
molecular tests for consumers, including the ScanaFlu, which
will indicate the presence of strep throat, flu or other types of
upper-respiratory infections. Patients gargle a special liquid and
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June 2016

then spit into a cartridge containing test strips. A pattern of lines


will appear to show which infections, if any, are present. The longterm aim is to bridge the gap between the Scout, which measures
vital signs electronically, and the molecular tests which analyse
samples. We want to give patients more power to diagnose their
own illnesses and keep track of their own health, says Aaron
Rowe, Scanadus research director.
The doctors diagnosis
Not everyone is excited about patients taking matters into their
own hands. Health care is a very paternalistic industry, and
physicians dont want patients to become independent and too
empowered, says Mr Wasden of PwC. The medical community
has always been very conservative, says Yan Chow, director of
innovation and advanced technology at Kaiser Permanente, a
non-profit health-care provider. Its very hard to change things.
CellScopes
smartphone
otoscope in action
Moreover, doctors may be
reluctant to use data collected
by
patients.
Instead
of
measuring vital signs at an annual check-up, they could find
themselves being asked to examine huge data sets created by
patientsraising the question of legal liability if something is
missed. The irony is that a doctor is more comfortable with the
liability in a system that does not have rich data than in a system
that does have rich data, says Mr Wasden. Another difficulty is
that electronic health records are not designed to allow for the
inclusion of patient-generated data, says Dr Chow.
Some of the new diagnostic tools may be financially threatening
to doctors, especially in disciplines such as optometry,
dermatology and paediatrics, says Dr Topol. Why would you visit
a specialist, he asks, when a mobile device lets you test your
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June 2016

eyes, diagnose skin lesions or determine whether your child has


an ear infection? But as medicine becomes more of an
information science, some mundane and simple tasks could be
taken over by patients, which could free up doctors for more
demanding problems, argues Mr Jones.
Whether for reasons of cost-saving, convenience, a love of
gadgets or simple hypochondria, there will be demand for any
device that turns a smartphonealready a portable library,
communicator, map and entertainment deviceinto a healthmonitoring and diagnostic tool as well. If its not prevented by
regulations, asks Dr Diamandis, who would not want to have a
tricorder in their pocket?

University of Waterloo Receives Award and Presents


Winning Design at the AMR in Washington, DC
Students Design Renewable Hydrogen Powered Micro-Grid
Washington, D.C. - June 9, 2016
Today, the Grand Prize Winner of the Hydrogen Education
Foundation's 2016 Hydrogen Student Design Contest was
announced at a session of the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE)'s Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting
(AMR) in Washington, DC. This year's Contest required student
teams to design a hydrogen powered micro-grid with the
capability of solely supporting a community, facility, or military
base for two days, with the ability to handle at least 10% of peak
demand while the macro-grid is active, as well as provide grid
support during peak times.
DOE, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Air
Liquide sponsored the Contest and announced University of
Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada, as the Grand Prize Winner, their
third Grand Prize and fifth award in the history of the Contest. The
team's design used Cornwall, ON, Canada, as the basis for the
location of their renewable hydrogen-powered micro-grid design.
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June 2016

Hydrogenis used as an energy storage medium to be converted


back into electricity by PEM (Polymer Electrolyte Membrane) fuel
cells.The system is designed to supply hydrogen to 100 forklifts
used at a food distribution center and more than 30 FCEVs used
in the residential community. Wind, solar and hydrogen power
continuously supply 10% of the energy demand of the community
as well as the full demand for two days in the event of a blackout.
Key to meeting this criteria is the vehicle-to-grid concept used in
the design, where FCEVs can be connected to charging stations
to supply power back to the grid during peak demand or
emergency scenarios.
Jeff Serfass, president of the Hydrogen Education Foundation,
remarked: "I continue to be impressed by the ingenuity of these
student teams, especially as hydrogen technologies continue to
evolve. Waterloo's design was detailed and thorough, taking into
account the constraints of today's technology with their vision for
the future."
Sixteen teams from the United States, Canada, Great Britain,
Japan, India, Indonesia, Peru, and South Africa participated in the
Contest:
Arizona State University, USA
Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia
California State University- Los Angeles, USA
Farmingdale State College, USA
Kyushu University, Japan
North-West University, South Africa
Stanford University, USA
Universidad de Ingeniera y Tecnologa - UTEC Team A,
Peru
Universidad de Ingeniera y Tecnologa - UTEC Team B,
Peru
Universidad de Ingeniera y Tecnologa - UTEC Team C,
Peru
University of British Columbia
University of California, San Diego, USA
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June 2016

University of Manchester, UK
University of South Florida, USA
University of Waterloo, Canada
West Texas A&M University, USA

As part of their award, the team from the University of Waterloo


received a travel stipend to DOE's AMR in Washington, DC to
present their design in front of industry representatives. The
winning team will also have their design submitted for publication
in an issue of the International Journal for Hydrogen Energy.
Since 2004, the annual contest has demonstrated the talents of
the student teams in numerous fields, including engineering,
environmental
science,
architecture,
marketing,
and
entrepreneurship. Previous Contest winners attracted the funding
necessary for project implementation; a hydrogen fueling station
at Humboldt State University was opened on September 9, 2008,
based on their winning design in the 2005 Contest.

New catalyst could make more efficient automobiles


less polluting
Materials Today
Andrew Binder (pictured) and his
colleagues developed their new
catalyst by mixing together copper
oxide, cobalt oxide and cerium
oxide.
Image:
ORNL.Andrew
Binder
(pictured)
and
his
colleagues developed their new
catalyst by mixing together copper
oxide, cobalt oxide and cerium
oxide. Image: ORNL.
A catalyst being developed by
researchers at the Department of
Energy's Oak Ridge National
Laboratory
(ORNL)
could
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June 2016

overcome one of the key obstacles preventing automobile


engines from running more cleanly and efficiently.
The mixed oxide catalyst could solve the longstanding problem of
inhibition, in which nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and
hydrocarbons effectively clog the catalyst that is meant to cleanse
a vehicle's exhaust stream. This happens as these three
pollutants compete for active surface sites on the catalyst. Now,
however, ORNL researchers have developed a low-cost catalyst
composed of copper oxide, cobalt oxide and cerium oxide that
shows considerable promise when tested in simulated exhaust
streams.
"Our catalyst potentially fixes the inhibition problem without
precious metals and could help more efficient engines meet
upcoming stricter emission regulations," said Todd Toops of
ORNL's Energy and Transportation Sciences Division. Toops
noted that the unique formulation builds on previous work by
colleagues Andrew Binder and Sheng Dai, who varied the
composition of the three catalyst components in search of
improved oxidation activity under simple conditions.
The inhibition problem is actually getting worse as automobile
engines become more fuel efficient. This is because these
efficiency gains mean lower exhaust temperatures, but
conventional catalysts perform more efficiently at high
temperatures. The hundreds of different hydrocarbons present in
exhaust fumes pose perhaps the biggest challenge.
"As we make engines more efficient, less wasted heat exits the
engine into the exhaust system where catalysts clean up the
pollutant emissions, explains Jim Parks, another member of the
Energy and Transportation Sciences Division. "The lower
temperatures in the exhaust from the more efficient engines are
lower than the typical operating range of catalysts, so we need
innovations like this catalyst to lower the operating range and
control the engine pollutants."
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June 2016

This finding, published in the Angewandte Chemie, is


encouraging, the authors note, as "vehicles with internal
combustion engines will likely remain a dominant fraction of the
light-duty fleet in both hybrid and conventional drivetrains".
Binder, Toops, Parks and Dai performed extensive tests using
different ratios of copper oxide, cobalt oxide and ceria to
determine the optimum ratio, which was initially evaluated at an
atomic ratio of 1:5:5, respectively. Next, the researchers will
determine the scalability of this approach and perform costbenefit analyses.
This story is adapted from material from ORNL, with editorial
changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this
article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to
original source.

ASTEROIDS, NOT COMETS, BROUGHT BULK OF


MOON'S WATER
A VERY SPECIAL DELIVERY
By Meaghan Lee Callaghan Posted June 1, 2016

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June 2016

Moonset Viewed from the International Space Station


About 80 percent of the moon's inner water may stem from
asteroid collisions more than 4 billion years ago.
Comets may not have played as big of a part in the moons early
surface as once thought. A new study out in Nature
Communications today says that 80 percent of the moons inner
water may actually come from asteroids.
After hydrogen atoms were found in samples of the moons
interior six years ago, an international group of researchers set
out to find the water's origin. By studying hydrogen isotopes,
carbon to nitrogen ratios, and other elements, they were able to
compare moon samples to lists of asteroid and comet
components. They matched most of the moon's interior water to
asteroids and a smaller percentage, less than 20 percent, to
comets.
The researchers were also able to tell that the brunt of lunar
water, which measures at around 100 parts per million, was
delivered about 4.5 billion years ago, before the Late Heavy
Bombardment, a time when the moon, Earth and other inner
planets were hit by an astounding number of asteroids.
While the scientists speculate that most of the water came from
asteroids, they also propose an alternative theory where up to 25
percent of lunar water came from the creation of the moon from
the Earth 4.5 billion years ago. But some scientists think it is
unlikely any water from Earth would have made it through a time
in the moons early history when the surface was molten and
water easily evaporated.
Nicely enough, these findings support the idea that not only the
moon and Earth but all of the inner solar systems water came
from asteroids from about 4.5 to 3.9 billion years ago.
Asteroids, and some comets, may have been the beginnings of
water in our solar system, and therefore, the beginnings of life.
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June 2016

TAGS: MOON
MOON WATER
NASA SPACE
Taboola Sponsored

ASTEROIDS

COMETS

Microwaved Nanoribbons May Bolster Oil, Gas Wells


Fri, 05/13/2016 - 8:50amby Rice University

Rice researchers have developed a method to treat composite


materials of graphene nanoribbons and thermoset polymers with
microwaves in a way that could dramatically reinforce wellbores
for oil and gas production. Source: Nam Dong Kim/Rice
UniversityRice researchers have developed a method to treat
composite materials of graphene nanoribbons and thermoset
polymers with microwaves in a way that could dramatically
reinforce wellbores for oil and gas production. Source: Nam Dong
Kim/Rice UniversityWellbores drilled to extract oil and gas can be
dramatically reinforced with a small amount of modified graphene
nanoribbons added to a polymer and microwaved, according to
Rice University researchers.
The Rice labs of chemist James Tour and civil and environmental
engineer Rouzbeh Shahsavari combined the nanoribbons with an
oil-based thermoset polymer intended to make wells more stable
and cut production costs. When cured in place with low-power
microwaves emanating from the drill assembly, the composite
would plug the microscopic fractures that allow drilling fluid to
seep through and destabilize the walls.
Results of their study appeared in the American Chemical Society
journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
The researchers said that in the past, drillers have tried to plug
fractures with mica, calcium carbonate, gilsonite and asphalt to
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June 2016

little avail because the particles are too large and the method is
not efficient enough to stabilize the wellbore.
In lab tests, a polymer-nanoribbon mixture was placed on a
sandstone block, similar to the rock that is encountered in many
wells. The team found that rapidly heating the graphene
nanoribbons to more than 200 degrees Celsius with a 30-watt
microwave was enough to cause crosslinking in the polymer that
had infiltrated the sandstone, Tour said. The microwave energy
needed is just a fraction of that typically used by a kitchen
appliance, he said.
"This is a far more practical and cost-effective way to increase the
stability of a well over a long period," Tour said.
In the lab, the nanoribbons were functionalized -- or modified -with polypropylene oxide to aid their dispersal in the polymer.
Mechanical tests on composite-reinforced sandstone showed the
process increased its average strength from 5.8 to 13.3
megapascals, a 130 percent boost in this measurement of
internal pressure, Shahsavari said. Similarly, the toughness of the
composite increased by a factor of six.
"That indicates the composite can absorb about six times more
energy before failure," he said. "Mechanical testing at smaller
scales via nanoindentation exhibited even more local
enhancement, mainly due to the strong interaction between
nanoribbons and the polymer. This, combined with the filling
effect of the nanoribbon-polymer into the pore spaces of the
sandstone, led to the observed enhancements."
The researchers suggested a low-power microwave attachment
on the drill head would allow for in-well curing of the nanoribbonpolymer solution.

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June 2016

Graphene Device Puts Fuel-Efficient Cars in Pole


Position
Thu, 06/02/2016 - 9:54am
2 Comments by University of Manchester

3D illustration of
graphene
atomic structure
A
graphenebased electrical
nano-device has
been
created
which
could
substantially
increase
the
energy efficiency
of fossil fuelpowered cars.
The nano-device, known as a 'ballistic rectifier', is able to convert
heat which would otherwise be wasted from the car exhaust and
engine body into a useable electrical current.
Parts of car exhausts can reach temperatures of 600 degrees
Celsius. The recovered energy can then be used to power
additional automotive features such as air conditioning and power
steering, or be stored in the car battery.
The nano-rectifier was built by a team at The University of
Manchester led by Professor Aimin Song and Ernie Hill, Ph.D.,
with a team at Shandong University. The device utilises
graphene's phenomenally high electron mobility, a property which
determines how fast an electron can travel in a material and how
fast electronic devices can operate.
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June 2016

The resulting device is the most sensitive room-temperature


rectifier ever made. Conventional devices with similar conversion
efficiencies require cryogenically low temperatures.
Even today's most efficient internal combustion engines can only
convert about 70% of energy burned from fossil fuels into the
energy required to power a car. The rest of the energy created is
often wasted through exhaust heat or cooling systems.
Greg Auton, who performed most of the experiment said:
"Graphene has exceptional properties; it possesses the longest
carrier mean free path of any electronic material at room
temperature.
"Despite this, even the most promising applications to
commercialise graphene in the electronics industry do not take
advantage of this property. Instead they often try to tackle the the
problem that graphene has no band gap."
Professor Song who invented the concept of the ballistic rectifier
said: "The working principle of the ballistic rectifier means that it
does not require any band gap. Meanwhile, it has a single-layered
planar device structure which is perfect to take the advantage of
the high electron-mobility to achieve an extremely high operating
speed.
"Unlike conventional rectifiers or diodes, the ballistic rectifier does
not have any threshold voltage either, making it perfect for energy
harvest as well as microwave and infrared detection".
Graphene was the world's first two-dimensional material, isolated
in 2004 at The University of Manchester, since then a whole
family of other 2D materials have been discovered.
The advantage of a grapheme-based nano-rectifier is its high
conversion efficiency from an alternating current to a direct
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June 2016

current at room temperature, enabled by the extremely high


electron mobility achieved in this work.
The Manchester-based group is now looking to scale up the
research by using large wafer-sized graphene and perform highfrequency experiments. The resulting technology can also be
applied to harvesting wasted heat energy in power plants.

Experts Turn Chief


Harmless Stone

Global

Warming

Gas

into

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 4:00pm4 Commentsby By Seth Borenstein,


AP Science Writer

Giant ducts carry superheated steam from within a volcanic field


to the turbines at Reykjavik Energy's Hellisheidi geothermal
power plant in Iceland. Scientists have a found a quick but not
cheap way to turn heat-trapping carbon dioxide into harmless
rock. Experts say the results of a two-year $10 million experiment
called CarbFix about one-third of a mile (540 meters) deep in the
rocks of Iceland offers new hope for an effective weapon in part of
the fight against man-made global warming. (AP Photo/Brennan
Linsley, Fie)
Giant ducts carry superheated steam from
within a volcanic field to the turbines at Reykjavik Energy's
Hellisheidi geothermal power plant in Iceland. Scientists have a
found a quick but not cheap way to turn heat-trapping carbon
dioxide into harmless rock. Experts say the results of a two-year
$10 million experiment called CarbFix about one-third of a mile
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June 2016

(540 meters) deep in the rocks of Iceland offers new hope for an
effective weapon in part of the fight against man-made global
warming. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Fie)Scientists have a found
a quick way but not a cheap one to turn heat-trapping
carbon dioxide gas into harmless rock.
Experts say the results of a two-year, $10 million experiment
called CarbFix , conducted about one-third of a mile (540 meters)
deep in the rocks of Iceland, offer new hope for an effective
weapon to help fight man-made global warming.
When an international team of scientists pumped a carbon
dioxide and water mix into underground basalt rocks, basic
chemistry took over. The acidic mixture dissolved the rocks'
calcium magnesium and formed limestone, a permanent natural
jail for the heat-trapping gas, according to Juerg Matter of the
University of Southampton in England. He is the lead author of a
study detailing the experiment published Thursday in the journal
Science.
"It's no longer a gas," Matter said. "Basically carbon dioxide is
converted into stone."
Scientists, who had done this before in the lab, thought the
process could take thousands or even hundreds of thousands of
years. But after just two years, 95 percent of the gas was
captured and converted, the study said.
"It's what we hoped for ... and in some ways better," said David
Goldberg, a Columbia University geophysicist who wasn't part of
the team but praised it. "What's going on here is a natural process
being accelerated."
One of the methods to battle climate change, in addition to
reducing fossil fuel emissions, is to capture carbon dioxide from
the air or power plants.
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June 2016

"Carbon capture is not the silver bullet, but it can contribute


significantly to reducing carbon dioxide emissions," Matter said.
However, carbon capture however can be expensive
especially the capturing part. Once the gas is grabbed from the
air, storing it is another issue. It can be stored underground and is
sometimes injected in depleted oil wells, but there are concerns
about monitoring it and preventing it from escaping.
Injecting it into basalt and letting nature take its course can solve
that problem. But at $17 per ton of carbon dioxide, it can cost a
couple times more than injecting it into old wells, Matter said.
There's basalt all over the world, in places like the Pacific
Northwest, India and South America, Matter said.
But even more promising is the ocean floor, which is full of basalt
and a good place to store the carbon dioxide, Goldberg said.
CarbFix is just a small scale test using about the equivalent of
the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 15 Americans but if it
can be scaled up at a low cost, "it would be very good news," said
climate scientist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for
Science, who wasn't part of the study.
Follow Seth Borenstein at http://twitter.com/borenbears and his
work can be found at
http://bigstory.ap.org/content/seth-borenstein

New Phenomenon Shows


Performance Fuel Cells

Promise

for

High-

Published on May 17, 2016


Fuel cells produce electricity from chemical reactions without any
harmful emissions, and have the capability to power everything
ranging from portable electronics to cars. They could be more
clean and efficient, compared to combustion engines.
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June 2016

Solid oxide fuel cells, which rely on low-cost ceramic


materials, are among the most efficient and promising type
of fuel cell. They work like batteries that don't need charging.

Solid oxide fuel cells that depend on cheap ceramic materials are
amongst the most competent and promising kind of fuel cell.
Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of
Engineering and Applied Sciences have discovered a way to
gather the quantum behavior of the fuel cells in order to make
them more effective and strong. While doing so, they have
detected a different type of phase shift in an oxide material. The
study has been published in the Nature journal.
Fuel cells work in a similar way to batteries producing an
electric current by driving electrons to move between the anode
and the cathode which are detached by an electrolyte. In contrast
to batteries, fuel cells do not require recharge. All they need is
fuel, often in the form of hydrogen.
When hydrogen is supplied to the anode, it splits to give rise to an
electron and a proton. The electrolyte takes the role of a bouncer
in an exclusive club hindering electrons from entering and
permitting protons to enter. The electrons are forced to take the
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June 2016

longer route, via an external circuit, that generates a flow of


electricity.
At the other side, air is supplied into the cells cathode. As the
electrons move within the circuit and the protons move through
the electrolyte, both bonding with the oxygen to generate water
and heat, the sole emissions produced by the fuel cells.
However, the current solid oxide fuel cells have a main drawback.
Over a period of time, the fuel reacts with the electrolyte and its
efficiency is reduced. This permits both the electrons and protons
through, making the electrical current weaker and weaker as it
passes through the external circuit.
The answer to this problem has been found by Shriram
Ramanathan, Visiting Scholar in Materials Science and
Mechanical Engineering at SEAS, and his graduate student You
Zhou. They found that by designing the electrolyte at the quantum
level, a material can be produced that becomes more robust on
exposure to fuel.
We have combined the fields of quantum matter and
electrochemistry in a way that led to discovery of a new, highperformance material that can phase transition from a metal to ion
conductor.
Shriram Ramanathan, Professor of Engineering, Purdue
University
Ramanathan and his group made use of a nickelate that was
perovskite-structured as their electrolyte. The nickelate conducts
both ions and electrons by itself, similar to protons, making it a
worthless electrolyte. However, the team covered the nickelate
surface with a catalyst and then doped it with electrons. These
electrons moved into the electron shell of the nickel ion and
changed the material to an ion conductor from an electron
conductor.
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June 2016

Now, ions can move very quickly in this material while at the
same time electron flow is suppressed, said Zhou. This is a new
phenomenon and it has the potential to dramatically enhance the
performance of fuel cells.
The elegance of this process is that it happens naturally when
exposed to the electrons in fuel. This technique can be applied to
other electrochemical devices to make it more robust. Its like
chess before we could only play with pawns and bishops, tools
that could move in limited directions. Now, were playing with the
queen.
Shriram Ramanathan, Professor of Engineering, Purdue
University
The study was sponsored by Army Research Office, Air Force
Office of Scientific, Research, Advanced Research Projects
Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), IBM PhD Fellowship and National
Academy of Sciences.

Sharks' electric field "sixth sense" could inspire


better fuel cells

Megan Treacy (@mtreacy)


Technology / Clean Technology
May 17, 2016

CC BY 2.0 malkusch
Scientists and engineers are
constantly looking to nature to
find inspiration for better ways
to do things and better
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June 2016

materials to do them with. Plants, the original and best solar cells,
are always being studied to improve solar technology, and
animals have inspired a host of robots with their wide range of
movements.
The latest amazing find in nature that is leading to biomimicry is
the discovery of a highly conductive material in the organs of
sharks and rays that lets them sense the electric fields of their
prey.
It's long been known that sharks and rays have organs called the
ampullae of Lorenzini that allow them to detect the weak electric
fields of animals near them and find prey even in the dark depths
of the ocean, but scientists haven't been able to figure out how
exactly the organs work. A new study by researchers at the
University of California Santa Cruz, University of Washington, and
the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason has found that
within these organs, which are like pores located around the head
and along the underside of the animals, is a clear viscous jelly.
skate skin jelly
When
the
researchers
studied the jelly they found
that is highly conductive. In
fact, it has the highest proton
conductivity every reported
of a biological material.
As the UC Santa Cruz
explains, "Proton conductivity
is the ability of a material or solution to conduct protons (positive
hydrogen ions). In a system with very many ordered hydrogen
bonds, such as a hydrated hydrophilic polymer, proton conduction
can occur along chains of these bonds."

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June 2016

Currently there are proton-conducting polymers used in things like


fuel cells where the polymer acts as the proton exchange
membranes. The most highly performing polymer is called Nafion
and the researchers found that the jelly from the electro-sensory
organs was only 40 times less conductive that the man-made
version.
"The first time I measured the proton conductivity of the jelly, I
was really surprised," said first author Erik Josberger, an electrical
engineering doctoral student in Rolandi's group at UW. "I didn't
expect a natural material to approach the proton conductivity of
an engineered material like Nafion."
The researchers plan to continue investigating this material and
try to understand more about how it works within the animals'
bodies to transmit these electric signals. They think that
uncovering more information about the jelly could lead to new
types of sensor technology and better, more efficient fuel cells.

New Biomaterial Impedes Bacteria on Metal Surfaces


April 25, 2016
Nanotechnology, Press Releases
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have
developed an innovative anti-biofilm coating, which has significant
anti-adhesive potential for a variety of medical and industrial
applications.
According to the research published in Advanced Materials
Interfaces, anti-adhesive patches that are developed from
naturally occurring biomaterials can prevent destructive bacterial
biofilm from forming on metal surfaces when they are immersed in
water and other damp environments.

117

June 2016

Our solution addresses a pervasive need to design


environmentally friendly materials to impede dangerous surface
bacteria growth, the BGU researchers from the Avram and Stella
Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering
explain. This holds tremendous potential for averting biofilm
formed by surface-anchored bacteria and could have a
tremendous impact.

Above: SEM micrographs of A. baumannii, P. aeruginosa


(PA14), S. marcescens and P.stuartii biofilm architectures.
The untreated control surface shows intricate bacteria
densely embedded in the matrix. Biofilms were grown
statically on the different surfaces.
The anti-adhesive could be used on medical implants, devices
and surgical equipment where bacteria can contribute to chronic
diseases, resist antibiotic treatment and thereby compromise the
bodys defense system. The prevention of aquatic biofouling on
ships and bridges is one of the industrial applications.
The BGU researchers who participated in the study from the
Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology
Engineering are Dr. Karina Goldberg, Prof. Noa Emuna, Prof.
118

June 2016

Dorit van Moppes, Prof. T. P. Vinod, Prof. Robert Marks, Prof.


Ariel Kushmaro, and Prof. Shoshana Malis Arad. Profs. Marks
and Kushmaro are members of BGUs Ilse Katz Institute for
Nanoscale Science and Technology and the National Institute for
Biotechnology in the Negev, and are also visiting researchers at
the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Nanyang
Technological University in Singapore.
This work was supported by the Singapore National Research
Foundation under the CREATE program: Nanomaterials for
Energy and Water Management; a Levi Eshkol scholarship from
the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology, and by a Shimona
Geresh award.
K. Golberg, N. Emuna, T. P. Vinod, D. van Moppes, R. S. Marks,
S. M. Arad and A. Kushmaro*. 2016. Novel Anti-Adhesive
Biomaterial Patches: Preventing Biofilm Using Metal Complex
Films (MCF) Derived from a Microalgal Polysaccharide. Advanced
Materials Interfaces (2016-03). DOI: 10.1002/admi.201500486
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev plays a
vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurions vision, creating a
world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli
desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the
Universitys expertise locally and around the globe. With some
20,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and
Eilat in Israels southern desert, BGU is a university with a
conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated
with community involvement, committed to sustainable
development of the Negev.
Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications
516-944-4486
alc@alavin.com
119

June 2016

Using nanostructured filters to reduce


pollution

shipping

04.05.16 - Cargo ships are among the leading sources of


pollution on the planet. Starting in 2020, however, stricter
sulfur emission standards will take effect. A low-cost
solution for reaching the new targets may come from an
EPFL start-up, which is developing a nanostructured filter for
use in a ships exhaust stacks.
Around 55,000 cargo ships ply the oceans every day, powered by
a fuel that is dirtier than diesel. And owing to lax standards,
maritime transport has emerged as one of the leading emitters
alongside air transport of nitrogen oxide and sulfur. But the
International Maritime Organization has enacted tighter emission
limits, with new standards set to take effect in 2020. In response,
an EPFL start-up is developing a low-cost and eco-friendly
solution: a filter that can be installed in the ships exhaust stacks.
The start-up, Daphne Technology, could do well on this massive
market.
Lowering sulfur emissions to below 1%
Under laboratory conditions, the nanostructured filter is able to cut
sulfur emissions to below 1% and nitrogen oxide emissions to
15% of the current standards. This is a major improvement,
seeing as the new standards will require an approximately 14%
reduction in sulfur emissions.
Manufacturing the filters is similar to manufacturing solar cells. A
thin metal plate titanium in this case is nanostructured in order
to increase its surface area, and a number of substances are
120

June 2016

deposited in extremely thin layers. The plates are then placed


vertically and evenly spaced, creating channels through which the
toxic gases travel. The gases are captured by the nanostructured
surfaces. This approach is considered eco-friendly because the
substances in the filter are designed to be recycled. And the
exhaust gas itself becomes inert and could be used in a variety of
products, such as fertilizer.
The main challenges now are to figure out a way to make these
filters on large surfaces, and to bring down the cost. It was at
EPFLs Swiss Plasma Center that researcher Mario Michan found
a machine that he could modify to meet his needs: it uses plasma
to deposit thin layers of substances. The next step is to produce a
prototype that can be tested under real-world conditions.
The idea to solve the problem of toxic gas emissions came to the
researcher after working on merchant freighters while completing
his Masters in microtechnology. It took several years, some
techniques he picked up in the various labs in which he worked,
and a few patents for Michan to make headway on his project. It
was while he was working in another field at CERN and observing
the technologies used to coat the inside of particle accelerators
that he discovered a process needed for his original concept. An
EPFL patent tying together the various aspects of the technology
and several manufacturing secrets should be filed this year.
According to the European Environment Agency, merchant ships
give off 204 times more sulfur than the billion cars on the roads
worldwide. Michan estimates that his nanostructured filters, if they
were used by all cargo ships, would reduce these emissions to
around twice the level given off by all cars, and the ships would
not need to switch to another fuel. Other solutions exist, but his
market research showed that they were all lacking in some way:
Marine diesel fuel is cleaner but much more expensive and
would drive up fuel costs by 50% according to ship owners. And
the other technologies that have been proposed cannot be used
on boats or they only cut down on sulfur emissions without
addressing the problem of nitrogen oxide.
121

June 2016

Make Better Solar Cells


Wed, 05/04/2016 - 12:58pm
Tara P. Dakhal, SUNY Binghamton, The Conversation

Global demand for energy is increasing by the hour as developing


countries move toward industrialization. Experts estimate that by
the year 2050, worldwide demand for electricity may reach 30
terawatts (TW). For perspective, one terawatt is roughly equal to
the power of 1.3 billion horses.
Energy from the sun is limitless the sun provides us 120,000
TW of power at any given instant and it is free. But today solar
energy provides only about one percent of the worlds electricity.
The critical challenge is making it less expensive to convert
photo-energy into usable electrical energy.
To do that, we need to find materials that absorb sunlight and
convert it into electricity efficiently. In addition, we want these
materials to be abundant, environmentally benign and costeffective to fabricate into solar devices.
Seeking the ideal material
Todays commercial solar cells are made from one of three
materials: silicon, cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper-indiumgallium-selenide (CIGS). Each has strengths and weaknesses.
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June 2016

Silicon solar cells are highly efficient, converting up to 25 percent


of the sunlight that falls on them into electricity, and very durable.
However, it is very expensive to process silicon into wafers. And
these wafers have to be very thick (about 0.3 millimeters, which is
thick for solar cells) to absorb all of the sunlight that falls on them,
which further increases costs.
Silicon solar cells often referred to as first-generation solar cells
are used in the panels that have become familiar sights on
rooftops. Our center is studying another type called thin film solar
cells, which are the next generation of solar technology. As their
name suggests, thin film solar cells are made by putting a thin
layer of solar absorbent material over a substrate, such as glass
or plastic, which typically can be flexible.
These solar cells use less material, so they are less expensive
than crystalline solar cells made from silicon. It is not possible to
coat crystalline silicon on a flexible substrate, so we need a
different material to use as a solar absorber.
Although thin film solar technology is improving rapidly, some of
the materials in todays thin film solar cells are scarce or
hazardous. For example, the cadmium in CdTe is highly toxic to
all living things and is known to cause cancer in humans. CdTe
can separate into cadmium and tellurium at high temperatures
(for example, in a laboratory or housefire), posing a serious
inhalation risk.
We are working with pyrite and CZTS because they are nontoxic
and very inexpensive. CZTS costs about 0.005 cents per watt,
and pyrite costs a mere 0.000002 cents per watt. They also are
among the most abundant materials in the Earths crust, and
absorb the visible spectrum of sunlight efficiently. These films can
be as thin as 1/1000th of a millimeter.
We need to crystallize these materials before we can fabricate
them into solar cells. This is done by heating them. CZTS
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June 2016

crystallizes at temperatures under 600 degree Celsius, compared


to 1,200 degrees Celsius or higher for silicon, which makes it less
expensive to process. It performs much like high-efficiency
copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells, which are
commercially available now, but replaces the indium and gallium
in these cells with cheaper and more abundant zinc and tin.
So far, however, CZTS solar cells are relatively inefficient: they
convert less than 13 percent of the sunlight that falls upon them to
electricity, compared to 20 percent for more expensive CIGS
solar cells.
We know that CZTS solar cells have a potential to be 30 percent
efficient. The main challenges are 1) synthesizing high-quality
CZTS thin film without any traces of impurities, and 2) finding a
suitable material for the buffer layer underneath it, which helps
to collect the electric charges that sunlight creates in the absorber
layer. Our lab has produced a CZTS thin film with seven percent
efficiency; we hope to approach 15 percent efficiency soon by
synthesizing high-quality CZTS layers and finding suitable buffer
layers.
Pyrite is another potential absorber that can be synthesized at
very low temperatures. Our lab has synthesized pyrite thin films,
and now we are working to layer those films into solar cells. This
process is challenging because pyrite breaks down easily when it
is exposed to heat and moisture. We are researching ways to
make it more stable without affecting its solar absorbency and
mechanical properties. If we can solve this problem, fools gold
could turn into a smart photovoltaic device.
In a recent study, researchers at Stanford University and the
University of California at Berkeley estimated that solar power
could provide up to 45 percent of U.S. electricity by 2050. To
meet that target, we need to keep driving down the cost of solar
power and find ways to make solar cells more sustainably. We
believe that abundant, nontoxic materials are key to realizing the
potential of solar power.
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June 2016

A Nano-Engine That Could Power Next Generation of


Robots
Wed, 05/04/2016 - Ryan Bushey, Digital Editor
R&D headlines and news

University of Cambridge engineers have constructed the worlds


smallest engine named ANTS, which stands for actuating nanotransducers. Its a nanoscale prototype comprised of charged
gold particles and temperature-responsive polymers fused
together in the form of a gel.
The ANTS moniker was given to this invention because those
pint-sized insects are able to lift objects that are twice their
weight, but this device exerts forces that are, several orders of
magnitude larger than those for any other previously produced
device, with a force per unit weight nearly 100 times better than
any motor or muscle, according to the universitys
announcement.
This discovery sets the stage for the next generation of nanomachines because its a practical application that can initiate
movement. Lasers heated to certain temperatures can cause the
engine to quickly store large quantities of elastic energy causing
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June 2016

the gold particles to squeeze together in tight clusters. The cooldown process, however, forces the gold particles to disperse
First author Tao Ding, Ph.D., of Cambridge Universitys
Cavendish Laboratory explained in a statement that this process
is like an explosion.
We have hundreds if gold balls flying apart in a millionth of a
second when water molecules inflate the polymers around them,
he said.
More research needs to be performed in order to control the
exertion done by these robots, but the team is looking at
commercialization opportunities in microfluidic bio-applications.

COST SEPARATION OF CO2 FROM FLUEGAS


By Chemical Engineering | October 1, 2015
A novel solvent can reduce the costs of capturing and recovering
carbon dioxide from gas mixtures compared to the use of aminebased solvents, such as monoethanolamine (MEA). The solvent,
along with an associated cyclic absorption-desorption process,
was developed by Carbon Clean Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (CCS;
Mumbai, India; www.carboncleansolutions.com) to replace MEA
for separating CO2 from fluegas, synthesis gas and other gas
mixtures in industrial applications. By combining amine-based
compounds with salts, CCS CDRMax solvent can react quickly to
absorb CO2, similarly to MEA, but can also reduce the energy
requirements for desorption and reduce corrosion, says
Aniruddha Sharma, CEO of CCS. The system works by bubbling
fluegas (with ash removed) through large cylinders containing the
CDRMax to absorb the CO2. In a second vessel, the CO2 is
released from the solvent at 100C. If you can capture CO2
cheaply, the CO2 can be converted into more valuable products,
says Sharma. CCS says that capital costs for the CO2-removal
process can be reduced by 50% because the CDRMax solvent
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June 2016

reduces corrosion significantly compared to MEA, and the


process loss of solvent can be lowered from 4095% to around
510%. The CDRMax solvent has been
Reqd More at :
http://www.chemengonline.com/low-cost-separation-co2-fluegas/

127

June 2016

Scientists moot 'green fracking' technique


Adding CO2 instead of water to the cocktail used in fracking,
could boost oil and gas extraction and help fight global warming
at the same time, scientists said Tuesday.
AFP | 22 June 2016
Adding CO2 instead of water to the cocktail used in fracking,
could boost oil and gas extraction and help fight global warming
at the same time, scientists said Tuesday.
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", harvests fossil fuels locked
inside shale formations by injecting a mix of water, chemicals and
sand at high pressure.
This creates tiny fissures in the rock, allowing methane gas or oil
to escape once the pressure is released.
The sand -- wedged inside the cracks -- helps to keep the fissures
open.
But there are limitations to the technique, said Benoit Coasne, a
French scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
and senior author of a study in Nature Communications.
Using water works well at first but effectiveness tapers off,
followed by a "rapid decline in productivity," Coasne told
AFP.
At a microscopic level, "energy barriers" form and eventually
restrict the number of methane molecules that can extracted, he
explained.
Coasne and colleagues used computer simulations and statistical
modelling to look for a more efficient approach.
They found that swapping water for CO2 -- heated to a point
where it is midway between a liquid and a gas -- would eliminate
the problem, thus prolonging the operating life of a fracking well.
"Our study demonstrates that alternative solutions are possible,"
said Coasne.
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June 2016

There is also a potentially huge side benefit: carbon dioxide


naturally replaces methane within the rock pores, "raising hopes
that CO2 could be stored in the ground."
CO2 is by far the largest driver of global warming.
- Boomerang effect Opponents of fracking warn against its environmental impacts,
especially water contamination and the possibility it may trigger
earthquakes.
It is unknown how much methane -- 25 times more potent than
CO2 as a greenhouse gas -- leaks into the atmosphere.
Coasne's team made no attempt to calculate the potential cost of
using CO2 in fracking fluid, or how much of the heat-trapping gas
could be safely stored in capped wells.
Moving from theory to practice "is a big step," Coasne
acknowledged, and further research must determine whether the
idea is feasible.
"We feel that it is important to present scientific facts to help
politicians and the public to decide."
Fracking has transformed the US energy market in the last
decade, and today accounts for two-thirds of natural gas -- and
half of crude oil -- produced in the country.
In 2000, the technique accounted for less than two percent of
domestic oil production.
But the boom has contributed to a plunge in global oil prices,
which has boomeranged to hit the fracking sector hard.
Dozens of shale drillers have declared bankruptcy within the last
year.
Experts say that $50 (44 euros) a barrel -- where oil is today -- is
roughly the threshold of profitability for shale gas extraction.

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June 2016

Earths Bathtub Collected Oxygen to Support Life


Wed, 05/18/2016 - 10:20am
Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter, R&D Magazine
View of Earth's atmosphere
taken from the International
Space Station in 2003.
Photo: ISS Expedition 7
Crew, EOL, NASA
Planets have oxygen, but in
places like Mars and Venus
its entombed in oxides that
never create an atmosphere.
Oxygen is cycled through the barren landscapes slowly, at a pace
that could never support life.
On Earth, most of the oxygen is also locked away deep within
rocks. But billions of years ago, our planet became like a stoppedup bathtub and the trickle of oxygen gradually built up an
atmosphere that could host life, according to a new study in the
journal Nature Geoscience.
We believe the first rise in oxygen may have been due to a
substantial reduction in the efficiency of the oxygen sink, said
Cin-Ty Lee, professor Earth science at Rice University, and the
lead author of the study. In the bathtub analogy, this is equivalent
to partially plugging the drain.
The new model finds a spike in volcanic eruptions about 2.5
billion years ago brought more silica to the fore on our planet. The
added iron and sulfur thereby created the sink allowing highlyreactive oxygen to float in the atmosphere.
The main evidence for the new sink is the zircons with rich silica,
showing there was a significant change in the planetary
chemistry.
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June 2016

Over geologic eras, the carbon dioxide levels also increased in


the atmosphere. The scientists believe the carbon deposited at
continental crusts was related to plate tectonics. Tectonics may
have allowed the Earths surface to sink down into the Earths
interior, solidifying the carbon, and allowing atmospheric carbon
dioxide to accumulate. A photosynthetic-friendly environment was
gradually built up that complemented the increasing oxygenation,
they added.
Together, the oxygen and carbon increases worked hand-in-hand
for the ensuing rise of flora and fauna.
The theory could work on several different timeframes, according
to the team, from Rice, Yale and the University of Tokyo.
Exactly when is model-dependent, but what is clear is that the
formation of continental crust naturally leads to two rises in
atmospheric oxygen, just as we see in the fossil record, said Lee.
The theory could have import for the future, since it predicts that
carbon dioxide must increase in the atmosphere over geologic
time frames.
The change in flux described by our model happens over
extremely long time periods, and it would be a mistake to think
that these processes that are bringing about any of the
atmospheric changes are occurring due to anthropomorphic
climate change, Lee added.
The rise of life on Earth has been refined over decades, from the
initial theories of the primordial soup concept. Last year, a
theory concerning the rise of life proposed a model much more
gradual and incremental than previously understood. The
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill team contends the last
common ancestor of all organisms known as LUCA lived
approximately 3.6 billion years ago.

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June 2016

Genesis of Life From Primordial Soup Probed by


Scientists
Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter
Researchers at UNC suggest
genetic coding evolved in
distinct stages. (Image: UNC)In
the beginning, life emerged
from the primordial soup of
amino acids. Single cells
became complex life forms,
through millions of years of
evolution. But how simple
chemicals actually became alive has remained a scientific
mystery.
Scientists at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill say
they have now reconstructed a bit of the story about how life
created itself and evolved on the Earth about 4 billion years
ago, in two complementary papers in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.
The mix of life happened more incrementally than originally
thought, with chemical steps taken in between simple chemical
molecules and the genetic matter which would become the
building block of life, they said.
Our work shows that the close linkage between the physical
properties of amino acids, the genetic code, and protein folding
was likely essential from the beginning, long before large,
sophisticated molecules arrived on the scene, said Charles
Carter, professor biochemistry and biophysics at UNCs School of
Medicine, in a statement released by the school.

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June 2016

The prevailing theory until the new papers was that RNA the
molecule which currently translates the genetic instructions of
DNA alone emerged from the primordial soup of the early Earth.
However, Carter and Richard Wolfenden, the authors of the two
papers, contend that there was an earlier code which bridged the
gap between simple amino acids and eventually led to the
evolution of the relatively-complex RNA which led to life.
We suggest that genetic coding evolved in distinct stages,
Carter concluded, in the second paper
About 3.6 billion years ago, the last universal common ancestor,
or LUCA, was likely a single cell with a few hundred genes.
But the UNC researchers were trying to find out how LUCA had
developed. So they conducted a series of biochemical
experiments at the high temperatures which were likely to hold
sway 4 billion years ago on Earth. They found that a long series
of reactions and interactions could eventually produce life in that
environment.
Our experiments show how the polarities of amino acids change
consistently across a wide range of temperatures in ways that
would not disrupt the basic relationships between genetic coding
and protein folding, Wolfenden said.
The earlier, heretofore unknown genetic code allowed the earliest
peptides of amino acids to bind together RNA which in itself
allowed the natural selection process to begin. And that natural
process resulted in a single cell, which had begotten more
complex future life.
The collaboration between RNA and peptides was likely
necessary for the spontaneous emergence of complexity. In our
view, it was a peptide-RNA world, not and RNA-only world,
Carter added.
Source:
http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2015
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June 2016

Origin of Complex Life


Cynthia Fox, Science Writer, biosciencetechnology.com/articles
Image of a hydrothermal vent field along the Arctic Mid-Ocean
Ridge, close to where 'Loki'
was
found
in
marine
sediments. (Source: Centre
for Geobiology (University of
Bergen, Norway) by R.B.
Pedersen)Complex life
from humans to hamsters-may have evolved suddenly
from a rare event.
After two billion years of simple bacterial and archaeal life
reigning on earth, an archaea may have swallowed a bacterium,
and become a new creature with enough energy to grow and
diversity like never before: the eukaryote.
A new Nature study this week may have provided the strongest
evidence yet of this in its description of a new archaeon found
near an arctic hydrothermal vent - with genetic properties of both
archaea and eukarya.
The most surprising moment was when we were a couple of
weeks into the project and were looking at the first datasets that
we retrieved from the sequencing center, senior author Uppsala
University microbiologist This Ettema told Bioscience Technology.
We started finding all these 'eukaryotic-type' genes among these
archaeal sequences. We very soon realized that this was either a
very big and significant find, or some kind of weird artefact. After
doing a whole array of checks in order to make sure that we could
rule out the latter, we were sure: we found an archaeon that
shared several genes uniquely with eukaryotes. When later this
archaeon, which we then named Lokiarchaeon, turned out to form
a sistergroup with eukaryotes in the Tree of Life, we were
ecstatic!
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June 2016

Institutes of Health Senior Investigator Eugene Koonin,


uninvolved in the work, told Bioscience Technology the paper is
of great importance.
Agreed New Castle University microbiologist Martin Embley: Its
an important breakthrough. Embley, also uninvolved in the work,
noted to Bioscience Technology that, it identifies the closest
prokaryotic relative of eukaryotes, and strongly supports
hypotheses that claim that essential components of eukaryotic
cells were inherited from an archaeal ancestorin other words,
that we have an archaeal parent. As such it provides strong
evidence that the classic three domains tree is inaccurate for the
relationship of Eukaryotes to Archaea.
Until recent years, it has been believed that life at base is
comprised of three distinct branches, all of which hailed,
individually, from an unknown single ancestor: arachael and
bacterial cells, simple cells that lacked nuclei, and complex
eukaryotic cells containing nuclei, cytoskeletons, organelles. That
three-tree system was proposed by University of Illinois
microbiologist Carl Woese, who added a third branchthe
archaeal branchto the tree in 1977.
Image of a hydrothermal vent field
along the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge,
close to where 'Loki' was found in
marine
sediments.
(Source:
Centre for Geobiology (University
of Bergen, Norway) by R.B.
Pedersen)
But at about the same time, a 1967 paper by University of
Massachusetts biologist Lynn Margulis began catching on. That
unusual paper proposed that humans mitochondria, the critical
energy packs of our cells, are actually bacteria that were once
engulfed by other cells. Genetic analyses backing this up, in
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June 2016

addition to other genetic data finding similarities between the life


branches, led to doubt the three branches rose independently of
each other.
The Uppsala teams new discovery of Lokiarchaea, which
possesses many unique eukaryotic and archaeal qualities, offers
what Embley called in a companion commentary spectacular
evidence that the above independent evolution may indeed not
have occurred.
Instead, chaotic, complex eukaryotes like us may have emerged
out of a two-billion-year old sea of serene, simple life forms due to
the unusual engulfing of a bacteria by an archaea, forming a
creature rife with new possibilities.
The new paper
The new paper identifies archaeal forms that are much more
closely related to the hypothetical archaeal ancestor of
eukaryotes than any other currently known group of archaea,
Koonin toldBioscience Technology. These findings clinch the
case for the origin of eukaryotes from within the archaeal
diversity, and point to specific part of the archaeal evolutionary
tree where eukaryotes belong.
Equally importantly, Koonin continued, are the groups findings
that, Lokiarchaeota combine a number of eukaryotic-like
features that previously have been found scattered among
different archaeal genomes. In particular, they encode
components of the actin cytoskeleton, the ESCRT-III system for
membrane remodeling, and the ubiquitin system. Taken together,
these findings give credence to the evolutionary scenario in which
the eukaryotes evolved from an archaeon with a complex cellular
organization that might have been capable of engulfing bacteria.
Embley told Bioscience Technology that, in terms of clarifying the
origins of our mitochondria, the new Archaea appear to have the
potential for endocytosis and/or phagocytosis (cellular
incorporation and/or ingestion). This could allow them to take up
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June 2016

material from the environment. In some versions of


endosymbiotic theory, the host for the mitochondrial
endosymbiont uses phagocytosis to engulf the bacterium that
became the endosymbiont, and eventually the mitochondrion.
On the other hand, he noted: There is no genetic evidence in the
new paper that the new Archaea contain any genes from the
mitochondrial endosymbiont, so they do not appear to have
mitochondria. But the newly discovered creatures actin-like
proteins may simply indicate, he said, that eukaryotes evolved
phagocytosis before acquiring mitochondria.
Did the team prove we are descended from Lokiarchaea-like
creatures? I think that the phylogenetic analyses are carefully
done and use state-of-the-art methods, Embley said. It is really
hard to correctly infer events that may have occurred some two
billion years ago. But taken together, the combination of the tree,
and the enhanced number of eukaryotic-like proteins, are rather
convincing for a close relationship between Lokiarchaea and
eukaryotes. I am sure that the new data and analyses will be
subjected to very close scrutiny by the community once it is
published, and the robustness of the trees and the position of
eukaryotes within them, will be carefully tested as part of that
process.
More details on how life evolved
Ettema told Bioscience Technology that his teams next steps will
be to somehow obtain an image of Loki cells. His team used
computational methods to analyze composite DNA stretches
culled from samples in marine sediment. Thus far we have been
restricted to look at its genome. By looking at Loki's cells, we
would be able to see if it resembles eukaryotes a little bit with
respect to the eukaryotic gene-types that we have identified.
In addition, Ettemas crew is trying to obtain other Loki-like
organisms. With obtaining their genomes, we will be able to get
an even more detailed picture of how complex life might have
evolved.
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June 2016

SPARKING AN ENERGY REVOLUTION


How radical new technology - and thinking - is changing the
way we generate, transmit and use our electricity
cnn.com/2016/huawei/?energy-revolution
When brutal ice storms pounded the southern provinces of China
in January 2008, over 223,000 homes were destroyed and
widespread power outages reported across seventeen of China's
thirty-one provinces. Even the skyscrapers of Shanghai darkened
for days.
And yet in some places a fullscale collapse in the electricity
grid was averted - thanks to
smart technology, and new
ways of thinking about old
systems.
So when blizzards destroyed
the transmission pylons of the China Southern Power Grid (CSG)
- severing the optical fibers and 500 kV First coined by the
economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin, the Energy Internet refers to a
radical rethink on how we produce, distribute and store power in
the modern world. Where processes that power the
communications internet - distributive, collaborative and peer-topeer interactions - are applied to power networkse incident also
shone a light on a quiet revolution that has been sparked in the
energy sector over the last five years.
Cutting edge smart technology is now being bolted onto old
systems to future proof our electricity supply - and create what is
now called the "Energy Internet".
Ultimately, this will mean your dishwasher will recognise when
power is clean and cheapest, and switch on. Suppliers will know
to turn off biogas plants in one state when the sun starts shining
in another. And everything from coastal windfarms to domestic
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June 2016

solar panels will form part of new, continent-wide grids of


production and storage.

But the Energy Internet also


helps the older players of the
energy sector interact and coexist with today's greener,
more
disparate
energy
generators. By enhancing grids that are up to 60 years old with
new smart technology, power supply can be decentralized, more
efficient and reliable.
Spearheading this transition is global information and
communications technology specialists Huawei. Already, the
company is helping turn old power grids themselves into agile
communication systems - enabling data and complex interactions
to flow between grids, power utilities, and consumers. Their
Automatically Switched Optical Network (ASON), for example, is
able to withstand extreme conditions and even multiple lightning
strikes - so that if one link fails, the system can reroute within 50
ms to ensure secure and reliable communications across the
smart grid. It is currently being used as far afield as Dusseldorf,
Germany (for the E.ON energy supplier), and the South Korean
Electric Power Corporation KEPCO.
And after learning the lessons of the 2008 storms, there was an
increasing demand for more efficient power monitoring and
management in electric power distribution. In 2011, the China
Southern Power Grid began piloting a new wireless broadband
system in part of Zhuhai that uses the high speed data standard
LTE to automate distribution, emergency communication and
real-time monitoring.
And so by enhancing and augmenting with new technology, these
old networks become "smart grids" - with the capacity to reap the
rewards of the exponential rise in smart electricity meters. Nearly
210 million units were installed worldwide by the end of 2014, but
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June 2016

this is expected to rise to 780 million by 2020, largely driven by a


mass rollout in China.
Such penetration allows energy suppliers to bi-directionally
transmit and distribute electricity more efficiently and reliably - but
bill more accurately too. In Nigeria, for example - where older
electricity meters were both unreliable and easy to bypass - the
installation of Huawei's Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
lead to a 300% increase of subscribers under accurate automatic
metering.
But the data flowing from the smart grid poses its own problems.
In China, for example, several hundred million smart electric
meters collect data once every 15 minutes, resulting in terabytes
of information every day. As Youshi Xu of Huawei's Electric
Power Solutions Department admits, "That poses a serious
challenge to system operations in the areas of relevant analytics a needle-in the haystack problem."
Consequently, Huawei is also helping create the cloud data
center architecture capable of analysing the Big Data produced so it can be used to manage demand, make energy savings and
reduce greenhouse emissions. Systems like this are already
being used by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) and
Saudi Electricity Company (SEC). "By using these, it means the
relevant 'needles' can be found," says Youshi Xu, "and
geographically distributed resources can be integrated and
automated."
And yet the Energy Internet is only in its infancy. The Chinese
National Energy Administration will spend USD 314 billion
upgrading the power distribution network between 2015 and
2020. While the European Union's Third Energy Package aims to
achieve eighty percent smart meter penetration by 2020. As
Huawei's Chief Scientist Sanqi Li says, this is only the beginning:
"Every business will become a digital business in the new
digital world."
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June 2016

ALTERNATIVE & RENEWABLE ENERGY


ABB connects power to the Indian grid from one of
the worlds largest solar plants
New Delhi, June 13, 2016
Five substations to link a new 648-megawatt solar project, which
will account for about 10 percent of Indias solar power, to the
national grid
ABB has successfully commissioned five substations to integrate
a 648-megawatt (MW) solar project at Kamuthi in the southern
Indian state of Tamil Nadu to the national transmission grid. The
project was awarded by independent power producer (IPP) Adani
Group in 2015, and completed on schedule. The solar
photovoltaic project made up of five plants in a single location
is the largest of its kind in the world. 360 MW from the solar
project is currently grid-connected and at full capacity this facility
will account for nearly 10 percent of the countrys current solar
capacity of around seven gigawatts (GW).
The project contributes to Indias vision of achieving 100 GW of
solar power by 2022, with the overall aim of diversifying its energy
mix to meet growing demand while minimizing environmental
impact. As part of this plan, the government has issued a
proposal to implement 25 ultra-mega solar power projects with
capacities between 500 and 1,000 MW over a period of five
years. The government of Tamil Nadu is also pursuing a solar
policy which envisages a solar generation capacity addition of
3,000 MW.

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June 2016

We are proud to support the countrys clean energy vision and


push for solar power which demonstrates its commitment to
sustainable growth, said Claudio Facchin, President of ABBs
Power Grids division. This project exemplifies our end-to-end
power and automation system integration capabilities and
reinforces our commitment to the renewable energy sector, a key
component of ABBs Next Level strategy.
ABBs project scope included the design, supply, installation and
commissioning related to the solar plant electrification and
automation systems. This includes two 230 kilovolt (kV) and three
110 kV outdoor switchyards to connect to the local transmission
grid and will enable clean power supply for around 150,000
households based on average national per capita consumption.

Saudi minister says solar power should fuel national


growth
Submitted by Editor on Thu, 2016-05-26 11:38
PV Insider
Saudi Arabia can meet its growing power needs solely through
the deployment of new solar projects with energy storage, Dr
Ibrahim Babelli, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy and
Planning of Saudi Arabia, said at the MENASol 2016 conference
on May 25.
We should actually put a hiatus on power plants using fossil fuels
and look only for solar as the future for energy in Saudi Arabia,
he said.
As Chief Strategist for Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah City for
Atomic and Renewable Energy from 2010 to 2015, Babelli led the
development of new regulatory frameworks for renewable and
nuclear power.

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June 2016

Saudi Arabia has lagged behind other Middle East and North
Africa (MENA) countries on renewable energy deployment but the
Kingdoms new Vision 2030 Plan sets a target of 9.5 GW
renewables by 2023 alongside the roll out of large-scale
industrialization projects. The renewable energy program is to be
led by a new ministry of energy, industry and mineral resources.
The rising need for baseload power to fuel industrial growth
should be met by the targeted deployment of Photovoltaic (PV)
power and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), Babelli said.
"The advantage that comes with CSP should be a no-brainer for
Saudi Arabia, he said.
In high solar irradiation regions, PV with batteries are seen as the
most economic solar solution for storage durations of a few hours,
while CSP plants offer lower generation costs across longer
storage periods.
A combination of PV and CSP with storage would be able to
cover Saudi Arabias seasonal demand peaks and would cost
less than new large scale nuclear generation, Babelli told
conference attendees.
The deputy minister urged international solar consultants and
developers to shape their business plans around Saudi Arabias
power demand profiles and avoid assumptions based on other
solar markets, such as Germany.
Until now, consultants have come to Saudi Arabia with a one
model fits all approach, and this has held back growth in the
Kingdom, Babelli said.
This was the fundamental reason why nothing moved in Saudi
Arabia for six years, he said.

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June 2016

In addition to the cost benefits of solar power, targeted distributed


solar generation would reduce the risk of power supply dips due
to large plant outages, he added.
Major firms back solar, wind
Saudi Arabia and China are the two game-changing markets that
could potentially spur mass deployment of CSP, Andrea Lovato,
executive director of business development at renewables
developer ACWA Power, told conference attendees.
Saudi Arabias blossoming renewable energy industry includes
firms such as ACWA Power, Abdul Latif Jameel, and Polysilicon
Technology Company.
Saudi Aramco, the giant national oil company, has increased its
participation in the renewable energy space and the firm is
looking at wind projects as well as solar projects "from a
technology neutral point of view," Tim Polega, Head of Saudi
Aramco's renewable energy program, said.
As the renewable program starts to move forward in the
Kingdom, [Saudi Arabian] companies are expected to play
prominent roles, but we also expect a great deal of international
participation, Polega said.
Saudi companies have invested close to $5.5 billion in renewable
projects globally, and their committed pipeline is about $16 billion
by 2018, although very little of that is in Saudi Arabia, he said.
Morocco is one Middle East and North Africa (MENA) country
which has already played a key role in propelling solar and wind
growth in the MENA region.
We have a target to achieve 52% of installed renewable energy
capacity by 2030, which will need to come from solar, wind and
hydro. So importance is given to all three technologies,
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June 2016

Mohamed Sahri, Project Manager structuring at Moroccan


Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), told the conference.
MASEN is to launch the prequalification for Noor Midelt CSP-PV
project in the next few weeks and the agency plans to start
development on Noor Tata, another hybrid solar project, before
the end of 2016.
MASEN expects the three projects which will develop the 170
MW Noor PV 1 project--the countrys first utility-scale PV plant--to
achieve financial close by early 2017.

Saudi firms eye wind projects to meet new national


renewables target
Submitted by editor on Thu, 2016-05-26
Major firms like Saudi Aramco and ACWA Power are mulling wind
projects as well as solar plants to meet fresh targets set out in
Saudi Arabias Vision 2030 plan, leading company officials said at
the MENAWind-MENASol conference on May 25.
Saudi Arabia has lagged behind other Middle East and North
Africa (MENA) countries on renewable energy deployment but the
Kingdoms new Vision 2030 Plan sets a target of 9.5 GW
renewables by 2023 and plans large-scale industrialization
projects.
Saudi Aramco's increasing participation in the renewable energy
space has seen the firm scrutinize wind and solar projects and
approach new build "from a technology neutral point of view," Tim
Polega, Head of Saudi Aramco's renewable energy program, told
conference attendees.
As the renewable program starts to move forward in the
Kingdom, [Saudi Arabian] companies are expected to play
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June 2016

prominent roles, but we also expect a great deal of international


participation, Polega said.
Saudi Arabia has the greatest potential for renewable energy in
the MENA region. As well as direct normal solar irradiation of
2,500 kWh/m2/year, the Kingdom has high wind potential with net
wind speed of over 7 metres per second in some areas and
sufficient land area to develop utility-scale plants, according to a
recent report by the PWC consultancy and Eversheds law firm.
Saudi companies have already invested close to $5.5 billion in
renewable projects globally, and their committed pipeline is about
$16 billion by 2018, although very little of that is in Saudi Arabia,
Polega said.
Domestic companies are expected to play a major role in Saudi
Arabia's renewables surge and firms such as ACWA Power have
already been highly active in the MENA region.
ACWA Power has pooled wind and solar expertise from around
the world and the developer sees itself as "technology agnostic,"
Thomas Altmann, the firm's VP & Chief Technology Officer, said.
"We look at what the project requirement is," he said.
Altmann noted that Saudi Arabia's desalination facilities require
high levels of baseload power generation and in this context
hybrid solar and wind projects can play a key role in reducing the
use of fossil fuels.
Morocco is one Middle East and North Africa (MENA) country
which has already made strong progress in wind and solar
deployment.
Morocco currently has a wind capacity of around 800 MW, and
capacity is expected to grow significantly in the coming decade.
The North African country wants 42%, around 6 GW, of its total
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June 2016

energy mix to come from solar, wind and hydroelectric sources by


2020.
We have a target to achieve 52% of installed renewable energy
capacity by 2030, which will need to come from solar, wind and
hydro. So importance is given to all three technologies,
Mohamed Sahri, Project Manager structuring at Moroccan
Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), told the conference.

New Solar Plants Generate Floating Green Power


By ERICA GOODEMAY 20, 2016

A rendering from Kyocera


of the solar panels on the
Yamakura Dam reservoir
in Japan.
If construction goes as
planned, 50,904 panels
will
float
atop
the
reservoir,
generating
enough
electricity
to
power
almost
5,000
homes. CreditKyocera
An expanse of blue solar panels stretches across part of the
Yamakura Dam reservoir in Japans Chiba Prefecture.
In two years, if construction goes as planned, 50,904 panels will
float atop the reservoir, generating an estimated 16,170 megawatt
hours annually, enough electricity to power almost 5,000 homes,
according to Kyocera, the company building the solar plant.

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June 2016

The project, once completed, will be the largest installation of its


kind in the world. But floating solar arrays are becoming more
popular, with installations already operating in Australia and the
United States, and more planned or under construction.
The growing interest is driven in part by huge growth in the solar
market in recent years as the cost of the technology has dropped
quickly.
Floating solar arrays they are often referred to as
floatovoltaics, a term trademarked by one company also have
advantages over solar plants on land, their proponents say.
Renting or buying land is more expensive, and there are fewer
regulations for structures built on reservoirs, water treatment
ponds and other bodies of water not used for recreation. Unlike
most land-based solar plants, floating arrays can also be hidden
from public view, a factor in the nonprofit Sonoma Clean Power
Companys decision to pursue the technology.
Sonoma County boasts some of the most beautiful rolling hills,
and people dont want to see them covered by solar panels, said
Rebecca Simonson, a senior power analyst for the renewable
energy developer, which has signed purchasing agreements for
floating solar arrays to be built on six treated water ponds in the
county. The solar panels, she said, would not be visible from the
road.
The floating arrays have other assets. They help keep water from
evaporating, making the technology attractive in drought-plagued
areas, and restrict algae blooms. And they are more efficient than
land-based panels, because water cools the panels.
The efficiencies are what motivated us to look at this, said
Rajesh Nellore, the chief executive of Infratech Industries, which
has completed the first section of a floating solar plant in
Jamestown, Australia, that will eventually cover five water
treatment basins. The installation, which went into operation last
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June 2016

year, is constructed so that it generates up to 57 percent more


energy than a rooftop solar plant. (The finished plant is expected
to generate up to 20 percent more energy than a land-based
array.)
The panels are specially coated to prevent corrosion, and set on
a tracking system that moves them to maximize sunlight during
the course of a day. The company is working on a similar project
in Holtville, a small city in Southern California, which has suffered
from years of drought.
Mr. Nellore notes that each floating solar project comes with its
own engineering challenges. Floating panels, for example, can
face stiffer wind than land-based arrays. But he said the biggest
obstacle he faced was convincing government water agencies
that the floating technology served their interests.
Its limited by what incentives there are and what the government
wants, Mr. Nellore said. He noted that in Los Angeles, the Water
Department covered a reservoir with $34.5 million worth of black
plastic balls to slow evaporation; floating solar panels might have
served the same purpose and also generated energy.
Kyocera, for its part, turned to floating panels because solar
power has become so popular in Japan that big tracts of land for
typical panel setups are hard to come by, said a spokeswoman,
Natsuki Doi. She added that construction time and labor for a
floating array was far less than for a land-based installation.
The Far Niente winery in Oakville, Calif., was an early adopter of
floating solar panels, placing 994 on pontoons over an irrigation
pond in 2008. Greg Allen, a winemaker at Far Niente who is a
mechanical engineer by training, said the company was
interested in solar power and wanted to eliminate 100 percent of
their energy costs.

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June 2016

Utility rebates and tax credits helped defray some of the $4.2
million cost for the floating array, which took two and a half years
to design and build, and another 1,302 solar panels installed on
land. The system is expected to pay for itself by 2020 or sooner,
Mr. Allen said.
The 3-foot-by-5-foot solar panels on the pond are mounted on
130 foam-filled plastic pontoons made from drainpipes.
We were nervous about a lot of things when we got into the
project, Mr. Allen said. But putting the panels on water saved
vineyard space, and the floating system, combined with a solar
array on land, generates up to 477 kilowatts of electricity at peak
production.
At least one other winery has followed suit, and Mr. Allen said Far
Niente had received visitors from India, China, Singapore and
New South Wales who are interested in the technology.
Inhabitants of the pond seem unperturbed, he added.
The fish are happy, the frogs are happy, the ducks came back,
he said. Its a very healthy pond.

Japan aims to establish a society based on hydrogen


fuel
Country is working to embrace hydrogen as a primary form of
power
Japan has plans to establish a hydrogen society, or one where
hydrogen fuel and fuel cell technology is at the heart of energy
production. This has been a concept of interest for the country for
some time, since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Following a massive earthquake, a nuclear crisis was triggered
that brought many of the countrys nuclear energy facilities offline,
even those that had not been affected by the quake. Since then,
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June 2016

Japan has been looking for alternatives to nuclear power that are
considered safer.
Companies are working together to establish a hydrogen
infrastructure
The Japanese government has been working with various
companies in order to establish a hydrogen society. Two of these
companies, Toyota and Iwatani, have begun working together to
establish an expansive hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the country.
This infrastructure is needed to support the growing number of
fuel cell vehicles coming to Japan, but this infrastructure will also
ensure that fuel cells being used in other industries have access
to the fuel they need. Such an infrastructure will support Japans
plans for the 2020 Olympic Games, as well.
2020 Olympics will be powered by hydrogen fuel

The Olympics will be hosted in Tokyo in 2020, and the Japanese


government
is
working on building
theOlympic
Village,
which will serve as
the temporary home
for
athletes
participating in the
event while also serve
as a destination for
those visiting Tokyo
for the Games. The
Olympic Village will
serve as an example
of what a hydrogen society could be, as it will be powered entirely
by hydrogen fuel cells. These energy systems will provide the
electricity needed to power various buildings and fuel cells will
also be used to power vehicles that will be transporting athletes
and foreign dignitaries.
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June 2016

Tokyo is aggressively supporting clean transportation


Tokyo alone has committed more than $300 million in promoting
hydrogen fuel as an alternative to conventional forms of power.
The city is also offering residents incentives to purchase fuel cell
vehicles, with some $20,000 being offered per vehicle purchased.
This is expected to significantly cut down on the costs associated
with these vehicles, making them more attractive to consumers
interested in clean transportation.

Japan is investing more into hydrogen fuel cells


Posted on 18 May 2016.
Fuel cells may be the power of the future in Japan
Japan has come to show strong favor forhydrogen fuel cells. In
recent years, the country has been supporting the creation and
purchase of fuel cell vehicles, but fuel cells can be used for much
more than transportation. This fact has not been lost on the
Japanese government, of course, as it has been making use of
hydrogen fuel cells to provide residential energy for many years
now. In 2015, Japans ENE-FARM, a massive stationary fuel cell
power plant, reached a major milestone, installing some 120,000
residential fuel cell systems.
More than 5 million fuel cell systems expected to be
deployed throughout Japan by 2030
Supporting fuel cells is part of the Japanese governments
overarching energy plan for the future. According to the Ministry
of Economy, Technology, and Industry (METI), hydrogen is
expected to play a major role in Japan in the years to come. A
report released by METI in 2014 predicts that there will be more
than 5 million fuel cell systems powering homes and businesses
throughout the country by 2030. These energy systems will also
be used to provide electrical power for the 2020 Olympic Games,
which are being hosted in Tokyo.
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June 2016

The fuel cell sector is full of challenges


While Japan has shown faith in hydrogen fuel cells, there are still
many challenges the country must face before these energy
systems become a primary form of power. One of the greatest of
these challenges has to do with the cost of fuel cell systems.
These energy systems make use of rare and expensive materials,
which make them quite costly. Building a hydrogen infrastructure
is also somewhat expensive and the hydrogen production
process is energy intensive, being heavily reliant on fossil-fuels.
ENE-FARM may be the future of Japans fuel cell sector
Japan may opt to focus its efforts on the ENE-FARM project. The
Tokyo government is poised to spend more than $82 million on
the expansion of the ENE-FARM. The large-scale system is likely
to expose consumers to the capabilities of hydrogen fuel cells,
highlighting how these energy systems can be used beyond the
transportation space.

Govt eyes 10gw of green hybrid power


By Subhash Narayan

Jun 15 2016

, New Delhi

Tags: Power
New policy to promote hybrid power projects
In yet another step to accelerate the development of renewable
projects in the country, the government now targets to set up 10
gw of power plants under the wind-solar hybrid category by 2022.
The new category would bring together the two most successful
green technologies and reduce the variability associated with
renewable projects that poses risk to the grid stability.
The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has issued a
new draft policy on such hybrid projects that would help in the
creation of additional capacity both in brownfield and green
field space.
153

June 2016

It would also support optimal utilisation of the infrastructure,


including land and transmission system, and provide a chance to
the developers to venture into the new area with incentives similar
to those available to solar and wind project developers.
We plan to finalise the wind-solar hybrid policy soon after
receiving comments from all the stakeholders by June 30, said
an MNRE official.
This would provide developers the opportunity to develop both
wind and solar projects at one location with just a single
clearance. It would also expand the existing projects which have
the potential to add either wind or solar capacity, the official
added.
The government is pushing for the new policy to promote hybrid
projects because studies have revealed that solar and wind
projects are almost complementary to each other and hybridation
of the two technologies would help in minimising the variability.
This is important as both solar and wind power is infirm in nature
and imposes certain challenges on grid security and stability.
Superimposition of wind and solar resource maps shows that
there are large areas where both the energies have high to
moderate potential. The existing wind farms have the scope of
adding solar PV capacity while there may be wind potential in the
vicinity of the existing solar PV plants, said a government
statement.
New models are being explored in the renewable space as India
has set an ambitious target of reaching 175 gw of installed
capacity from renewable energy sources, including 100 gw from
solar and 60 gw from wind, by 2022. The country has already
crossed 26.8 gw of wind and 7.6 gw of solar power installed
capacity in May.
As per the draft policy, hybrid projects would have the freedom to
choose the required technology to achieve the aim of optimising
154

June 2016

infrastructure use. This would also mean that in such projects,


wind and solar PV systems will be configured to operate at the
same point of grid connection. This would eliminate the need to
create fresh transmission capacity to carry additional power.
Also, the existing wind power or solar power projects, which are
willing to install solar PV plant or wind turbine generators (WTGs)
to avail the benefit of a hybrid project, will be allowed to do so if
they do not overshoot the existing transmission capacity. It is
proposed that no additional connectivity/transmission capacity
charges will be levied in case of such projects.
The government also proposes to offer hybrid project incentives
similar to those given to wind and solar power projects. Moreover,
low cost financing for hybrid projects may be made available
through the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency
(IREDA) and other financial institutions, including multilateral
banks.
Developers would also be free to sell power from hybrid projects
in the open market or use it for captive purpose. Hybrid power
purchased by a distribution company could be used to offset both
solar and non-solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO).
subhashnarayan@mydigitalfc.com

Government mulls policy to promote wind energy


projects
By PTI | 8 Mar, 2016, 01.54PM ISTPost a Comment

The Centre will soon unveil a


policy to give incentives
including an interest rebate of
0.25 for increasing capacity of
wind mills of up to 1 MW.The
Centre will soon unveil a policy
to give incentives including an
interest rebate of 0.25 for
155

June 2016

increasing capacity of wind mills of up to 1 MW.


NEW DELHI: In a bid to encourage optimum use of wind energy
potential in India, the Centre will soon unveil a policy to give
incentives including an interest rebate of 0.25 for increasing
capacity of wind mills of up to 1 MW.
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has floated a draft for
Repowering of Wind powerProjects in the country for comments
from stakeholders by March 14, 2016.
The objective of the policy is to promote optimum utilisation of
wind energy resources by creating facilitative framework for
repowering, as per the draft.
It said most of the wind-turbines installed up to the year 2000 are
of capacity below 500 kW and are at sites having high wind
energy potential.
It is estimated that over 3000 MW capacity installation is from
wind turbines of 500 kW or below. In order to optimally utilise the
wind energy resources repowering is required, it noted.
It said that for repowering projects Indian Renewable Energy
Development Agency (IREDA) will provide an additional interest
rate rebate of 0.25 per cent over and above the interest rate
rebates available to the new wind projects being financed by it.
Secondly the benefits available to the new wind projects i.e.
Accelerated Depreciation or GBI (Generation Based Incentives)
as per applicable conditions would also be available to the
repowering project.
The repowering projects would be implemented through the
respective State Nodal Agency/Organisation involved in
promotion of wind energy in the state.
156

June 2016

Major share of renewable power capacity in India is from wind


energy. India started harnessing of the wind power prior to 1990.
The present installed capacity is over 25 GW which is fourth
largest in the world after China, USA and Germany.

ABB inverter dramatically boosts performance of


solar power installations
Zurich, Switzerland, June 21, 2016 ABB starts shipping a
central inverter, an essential component in every solar
installation, with a 40 percent increase in power density
ABBs PVS980 central inverter an essential component in every
solar installation that converts direct current (DC) produced in
solar panels into alternating current (AC) for use by electrical
grids increases the amount of incoming solar power connected
to a single inverter by as much as 40 percent: a dramatic
improvement that completely changes the economics of a solar
installation. Thanks to its increased power, the PVS980 central
inverter also allows operators to use 30 percent fewer inverters
than previously.
The high power 1500 VDC central inverter PVS980 is capable of
processing more incoming direct current power from photovoltaic
(PV) panels through one inverter, reducing the total number of
inverters needed onsite, which helps reduce overall costs across
the lifetime of a solar plant. Central inverters are used for
applications such as large field installations as well as large
arrays installed on buildings and industrial facilities. Originally
introduced at Intersolar as a concept last year, the PVS980 is
now shipping commercially and has already seen strong interest
among customers, with a number of pilot projects in place.
Another attribute of the new inverter is that it is designed to
seamlessly integrate into digital smart grids and operate efficiently
in reducing the carbon footprint of electricity consumption.

157

June 2016

ABB engineers have improved the compactness of the device,


enabling a power density increase of more than 40 percent
making it possible to build large power rated inverters in the same
physical size. Avoiding external air entering the critical
compartments of the inverter, the inverter can operate from below
freezing to extreme heat in 100 percent humidity without
jeopardizing functionality. The very wide temperature operating
range, designed to withstand the toughest environments, is
working without derating to up to 50C with a water- and
dustproof outdoor enclosure.
Using ABBs innovative self-contained cooling system, the central
inverter does not require refilling of liquids, and has no pumps or
valves that need to be serviced. With optional remote condition
monitoring, plant operators are able to gain operational data and
more accurately plan maintenance.
ABB has pushed the boundaries of development in the inverter
area once again, said Sami Atiya, President of ABBs Discrete
Automation and Motion division. In line with our Next Level
strategy, ABB is fully committed to the solar industry, strongly
investing in R&D and regularly launching pioneering products to
the market.
ABB promotes complete inverter station solutions for the solar
industry, including inverters, transformers and switchgear. ABBs
solutions are state-of-the-art in the industry, with installations in all
major countries (US, India, Japan and China), and with an
installed base of more than 22 GW. Offering complete solutions is
a key part of ABBs Next Level strategy.
ABB (www.abb.com) is a leading global technology company in
power and automation that enables utility, industry, and transport
and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while
lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies
operates in roughly 100 countries and employs about 135,000
people.
158

June 2016

MNRE implements plan to promote small wind energy


and hybrid systems
The first- such Pilot-cum- demonstration project of 25 KW
capacity will be installed at the wind turbine test station of
National Institute of Wind Energy in Tamil Nadu.
ETEnergyWorld | 25 May 2016
NEW DELHI: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is
implementing a programme to promote the installation of Small
Wind Energy and Hybrid Systems (SWES) with the objective to
provide electricity in unelectrified areas or areas with intermittent
electric supply.
The first- such Pilot-cum- demonstration project of 25 KW
capacity will be installed at the wind turbine test station of
National Institute of Wind Energy at Kayathar, Tootikudi District,
Tamil Nadu.
Under the programme, MNRE provides Central Financial
Assistance (CFA) to community users for installation of such
systems. The total installed capacity as on 31st March 2016 is
2.69 MW. There are 6 small wind turbine manufacturers and 9
models empanelled under this programme.
The SWES projects have been highly successful in USA and
European countries. Initially, 10 such demonstration projects will
be supported for grid integration. The tentative cost for each of
the roject will be in the range of Rs 2-3 lakh per KW, depending
upon the configuration and location of the projects. The Ministry
will support up to 50% of the project cost.
The installation of such projects and its success would lead
towards launching of National Programme on Grid connected
small wind and solar hybrid system in future

159

June 2016

India to use International Solar Alliance to push solar


water pumps
Solar pumps mostly substitute for diesel and electric pumps used
by farmers. Solar pumps of 3-5 HP cost around Rs 5-7 lakh,
multiple times more than diesel and electric pumps.Kaavya
Chandrasekaran |
ET Bureau | 25 May 2016,
NEW DELHI: India plans to use International Solar Alliance to
popularise indigenously developed solar water pumps across the
world, especially in emerging markets, a top official said.

"Many countries are not even aware of solar pumps," said


Upendra Tripathy, secretary, ministry of new and renewable
energy (MNRE), who is also the chairperson of the interim
administrative cell of International Solar Alliance (ISA), a joint
initiative of India and France launched during the Paris climate
conference last year to bring together 121'sunshine' countries to
optimise solar power use.
"We are planning pilot programmes in about 15-20 countries at
our own cost, explaining their benefits and exporting about 100
pumps to each of them," Tripathy told ET. India is a world leader
in solar water pump use for both irrigation and drinking water, with
about 62,000 pumps in operation across the country. Slightly
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June 2016

more than half of the total were added last year. Of the total, 13,
964 pumps were sold under MNRE's programme Solar Pumping
Programme for Irrigation and Drinking Water.
Solar pumps mostly substitute for diesel and electric pumps used
by farmers. Solar pumps of 3-5 HP cost around Rs 5-7 lakh,
multiple times more than diesel and electric pumps of similar
capacity. A 3-5 HP diesel pump, for example, costs Rs 30,00050,000, but the cost of diesel in running it even for a single year is
often greater than the cost of the pump.

New Solar Plants Generate Floating Green Power


By ERICA GOODEMAY 20, 2016
A rendering from Kyocera of the solar panels on the Yamakura
Dam reservoir in Japan.
If construction goes as planned, 50,904 panels will float atop the
reservoir, generating enough electricity to power almost 5,000
homes. CreditKyocera
An expanse of blue solar panels stretches across part of the
Yamakura Dam reservoir in Japans Chiba Prefecture.
In two years, if construction goes as planned, 50,904 panels will
float atop the reservoir, generating an estimated 16,170 megawatt
hours annually, enough electricity to power almost 5,000 homes,
according to Kyocera, the company building the solar plant.
The project, once completed, will be the largest installation of its
kind in the world. But floating solar arrays are becoming more
popular, with installations already operating in Australia and the
United States, and more planned or under construction.

161

June 2016

The growing interest is driven in part by huge growth in the solar


market in recent years as the cost of the technology has dropped
quickly.
Floating solar arrays they are often referred to as
floatovoltaics, a term trademarked by one company also have
advantages over solar plants on land, their proponents say.
Renting or buying land is more expensive, and there are fewer
regulations for structures built on reservoirs, water treatment
ponds and other bodies of water not used for recreation. Unlike
most land-based solar plants, floating arrays can also be hidden
from public view, a factor in the nonprofit Sonoma Clean
Power Companys decision to pursue the technology.
Sonoma County boasts some of the most beautiful rolling hills,
and people dont want to see them covered by solar panels, said
Rebecca Simonson, a senior power analyst for the renewable
energy developer, which has signed purchasing agreements for
floating solar arrays to be built on six treated water ponds in the
county. The solar panels, she said, would not be visible from the
road.
The floating arrays have other assets. They help keep water from
evaporating, making the technology attractive in drought-plagued
areas, and restrict algae blooms. And they are more efficient than
land-based panels, because water cools the panels.
The efficiencies are what motivated us to look at this, said
Rajesh Nellore, the chief executive of Infratech Industries, which
has completed the first section of a floating solar plant in
Jamestown, Australia, that will eventually cover five water
treatment basins. The installation, which went into operation last
year, is constructed so that it generates up to 57 percent more
energy than a rooftop solar plant. (The finished plant is expected
to generate up to 20 percent more energy than a land-based
array.)

162

June 2016

The panels are specially coated to prevent corrosion, and set on


a tracking system that moves them to maximize sunlight during
the course of a day. The company is working on a similar project
in Holtville, a small city in Southern California, which has suffered
from years of drought.
Mr. Nellore notes that each floating solar project comes with its
own engineering challenges. Floating panels, for example, can
face stiffer wind than land-based arrays. But he said the biggest
obstacle he faced was convincing government water agencies
that the floating technology served their interests.
Its limited by what incentives there are and what the government
wants, Mr. Nellore said. He noted that in Los Angeles, the Water
Department covered a reservoir with $34.5 million worth of black
plastic balls to slow evaporation; floating solar panels might have
served the same purpose and also generated energy.
Kyocera, for its part, turned to floating panels because solar
power has become so popular in Japan that big tracts of land for
typical panel setups are hard to come by, said a spokeswoman,
Natsuki Doi. She added that construction time and labor for a
floating array was far less than for a land-based installation.
The Far Niente winery in Oakville, Calif., was an early adopter of
floating solar panels, placing 994 on pontoons over an irrigation
pond in 2008. Greg Allen, a winemaker at Far Niente who is a
mechanical engineer by training, said the company was
interested in solar power and wanted to eliminate 100 percent of
their energy costs.
Utility rebates and tax credits helped defray some of the $4.2
million cost for the floating array, which took two and a half years
to design and build, and another 1,302 solar panels installed on
land. The system is expected to pay for itself by 2020 or sooner,
Mr. Allen said.
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June 2016

The 3-foot-by-5-foot solar panels on the pond are mounted on


130 foam-filled plastic pontoons made from drainpipes.
We were nervous about a lot of things when we got into the
project, Mr. Allen said. But putting the panels on water saved
vineyard space, and the floating system, combined with a solar
array on land, generates up to 477 kilowatts of electricity at peak
production.
At least one other winery has followed suit, and Mr. Allen said Far
Niente had received visitors from India, China, Singapore and
New South Wales who are interested in the technology.
Inhabitants of the pond seem unperturbed, he added.
The fish are happy, the frogs are happy, the ducks came back,
he said. Its a very healthy pond.

Audi, DuPont, Novozymes Among 20 Orgs Joining


Below50 Coalition to Scale Up Sustainable Fuels
June 1, 2016
by Sustainable Brands,

Any company that helps to produce, invest in or use fuels that


reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 50 percent relative to
conventional fossil fuels is invited to get involved in
the below50 initiative. | Image credit: below50
164

June 2016

From investors to growers, producers, blenders and consumers,


the below50 initiative,launched today, expects to attract every
industry sector involved in the pipeline of sustainable fuels. Any
company who produces, uses and/or invests in fuels that are at
least 50 percent less carbon intensive than conventional fossil
fuels can join below50.
The
initial
20
organizations
to
join
the
coalition
include ABBI, Arizona State University,
Audi, CGEE,
Copersucar, DSM, DuPont, GranBio, the International Energy
Agency(IEA), SkyNRG, Joule Unlimited, LanzaTech, LCFC,
Novozymes, Pannonia, Poet,Red Rock Biofuels, RSB,
SE4ALL and Yale University.
The global initiative is designed to increase the number of
companies using fuels that reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at
least 50 percent relative to conventional fossil fuels, as well as
demonstrate that these fuels make both good business and
environmental sense.
Participating companies must publicly commit to the campaign,
show evidence that supports their claim, and disclose their
progress towards creating fuels that align with below50s criteria
and/or bringing them to market. Participants can be involved in
any step of the supply chain; the campaign is intended to
centralize resources and dialogue; produce a go-to resource for
regulators and policymakers; create a marketplace for companies
across the supply chain; and host regional road shows to engage
financers, policymakers and companies, as well as explore how
to regionally scale sustainable fuel technology.
The below50 campaign is a great example of a cross-sectoral
business platform to drive growth and commercialization of
sustainable technologies for low carbon transportation fuels,
together with investors and policy-makers, said Rob van Leen,
Chief Innovation Officer of Royal DSM. DSM recognizes that the
complexity of the issues is too big for any one party to tackle
165

June 2016

alone. These types of partnerships are a necessity to drive


societal change.
Led by the WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable
Development), the below50 collaboration is an outcome of
the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi).
Were on the cusp of a clean energy future, WBCSD President
and CEO Peter Bakker said. Below50 is accelerating that shift
by scaling up the global market for sustainable fuels its a huge
growth opportunity that is expected to reach $185 billion over the
next five years. Below50 brings together companies and
organizations from around the world to help realize the ambition
set in Paris at COP21, and in doing so, to unlock the economic
benefits of the new low-carbon economy.
According to the IEA, only 3 percent of transportation fuels in
2015 were considered to be low-carbon. Below50 asserts that the
2C target set at COP21 will require deploying all the available
technologies that substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
and that the coalition offers an untapped market opportunity for
companies seeking to thrive in the emerging low-carbon
economy by adapting and working to mitigate climate change.
With the critical need to decarbonize the transport sector
immediately to meet global climate change mitigation goals, we
need initiatives like below50 that engage breakthrough
sustainable mobility technology companies and large public and
private sector institutions to accelerate scale up and impact,
said Brian Baynes, CEO of Joule Unlimited.
Below50 is in the process of integrating a variety of sustainability
parameters into its admission criteria, such as to ensure water,
land use and food security are considered.

166

June 2016

Vestas wins 224-MW turbine supply deal in Canada


Vestas will supply EDF EN Canada with 65 V117 3.45-megawatt
turbines for its Nicolas-Riou project in Quebec, Canada. The wind
farm will have a total capacity of 224.25 MW. The project will
likely be the first in Canada to feature Vestas' 3-MW turbine
platform.
SeeNews Renewables (6/1), North American Windpower
online (6/1)
Jun 1, 2016 08:58 CEST by Veselina Petrova

Vestas turbine. Author: germanborrillo. License:


Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Creative

June 1 (SeeNews) - Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind


Systems A/S (CPH:VWS) said Wednesday it has clinched a deal
to equip EDF Energies Nouvelles 224.4-MW Nicolas-Riou wind
farm in Quebec.
Under the firm and unconditional order, Vestas will supply and
commission 65 units of its V117-3.45 MW turbines, introducing its
3-MW platform for the first time in Canada. The contract also
includes a 10-year Active Output Management (AOM 5000)
service agreement.
Vestas expects to start turbine delivery in the second quarter of
2017. The park is scheduled for commissioning in the closing
quarter of 2017.
167

June 2016

The Nicolas-Riou wind project is 50%-owned by EDF Energies


Nouvelles Canadian unit, EDF EN Canada, 33.3% by Energie
Eolienne Bas-Saint-Laurent, and 16.7% by the Regie
intermunicipale de lenergie Gaspesie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine. Once
operational, the plant will sell its output to Hydro-Quebec
Distribution under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA).
Vestas has installed almost 2,800 MW of turbines in Canada, it
noted. The company's year-to-date order intake stands at 3,053
MW.

Ikea vows to be net exporter of renewable energy by


2020
Renewable power sources, low-energy products and supply chain
emissions cuts help Swedish furniture giant boost sustainability
Ikea operates 314 wind turbines and produces 53% of its energy
from renewable sources. Photograph: Keith Arkins/PR
Emma Howard
@EmmaEHoward
Friday 27 May 2016 05.00 BSTLast modified on Friday 27 May
201611.45 BST
As Decembers landmark climate change summit in Paris
(COP21) approached, Ikea made a number of major
announcements. It pledged to invest 600m (471m) in
renewable energy projects in addition to an earlier 1.5bn
(1.2bn) cash injection and a further 400m (314m) to support
communities vulnerable to climate change.
The worlds biggest furniture retailer says its going all in to have
a net positive impact on the climate through renewable energy
investment, energy-efficiency measures, cutting supply chain
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June 2016

emissions, and product changes designed to achieve behaviour


change. It has already helped its suppliers become 18% more
energy efficient over the past four years through the introduction
of a sustainability assessment tool and by bringing suppliers
together to share sustainability best practice.

Can you power a business on 100% renewable


energy? Ikea wants to try
At COP21, the firm lobbied for stronger action, largely through We
Mean Business, a coalition of global companies and investors
who are committed to the green agenda. It also co-founded
RE100, a campaign that now has more than 50 of the worlds
biggest companies committed to the transition to 100% renewable
electricity.
Ikea plans to be a net exporter of renewable energy within four
years. The retailer currently produces 53% of its energy from
renewable sources: it operates 314 wind turbines and has
installed 700,000 solar panels on its stores and distribution
centres. In some countries such as Denmark, Finland, Norway,
Sweden and Poland the retailer already produces energy
equivalent to what it uses in its operations. In Canada, its wind
farm produces more than double its consumption.
Supporting consumers to make environmental choices is another
core part of Ikeas strategy. The firm switched its entire lighting
range to LED in September and estimates that by 2020 the
change will have saved electricity equivalent to the annual needs
of every household in London and Paris.
Ikea is the 2016 winner of the net positive category of
the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards.

169

June 2016

ANALYSIS - Utility
approach to land use

solar

promotes

enlightened

May 31, 2016 08:24 CEST by Philip Wolfe

The new floating solar array in South East London. Courtesy:


WolfeWare Limited.
May 31 (SeeNews) - Following the completion of Europe's largest
floating solar project, and the latest mega solar installation on a
former golf course in Japan; this month's article focuses on
innovative approaches to land use.
Utility solar promotes enlightened approach to land use
In overall terms the land area required for solar power systems is
not a constraining factor. On average, the world's electricity
supply could be generated by solar arrays covering just 0.03% of
the total land area. Even in the densely populated less sunny
parts of North West Europe, this only rises to a maximum of
0.26%, while Japan would need 1.22%. Given that a significant
proportion of solar power is actually installed on rooftops, the
pressures on productive land are even lower than this.
However, there are economic and technical benefits in installing
generation near to the more populated areas. Solar developers
and legislators have therefore been addressing ways to minimise
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June 2016

the effect of utility scale solar projects on the availability of


productive land.
First option build in infertile regions
In countries where there are substantial areas of desert and
infertile scrubland, this is a good place to install solar projects;
especially as these regions often have high levels of solar
radiation. The largest solar power stations in China, the USA,
India and South Africa have all been built in this type of arid
region.
Even in these regions development is not always popular.
Recently for example, a further lawsuit was filed in an attempt to
stop a 247 MW solar project in the Panoche Valley, because of
the adverse effect this might have on blunt-nosed leopard lizards
and giant kangaroo rats. The other disadvantage of many desert
locations may be the distance and cost of transmitting the power
to where it is needed.
Option 2 Brownfield sites and other land redeployment
Many countries and regions may not have access to suitable arid
areas, and so need to adopt other strategies to mitigate land-use.
A good place to build solar parks is on brownfield sites, especially
where soil contamination or other issues makes them less
suitable for other types of redevelopment. There is a growing
trend, particularly in Europe and North America, to site solar
projects on former landfill sites and quarries.
Many other types of previously developed land are also suitable.
A prime example is the use of former airfields, especially as these
are typically flat and level. This approach has been particularly
widespread in Germany, the UK and France, where many
airfields from the World War II and Cold War eras are no longer in
service.
Even on active airfields, substantial areas are unused and offer
similar benefits for solar projects. An increasing number of active
airports, most recently the Indira Gandhi International Airport in
Delhi, now host solar projects.
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June 2016

HSE, CLIMATE CHANGE & SUSTAINABILITY

HSE
Bongaigaon Refinery of IndianOil becomes the 1st
refinery to link Stack Monitoring Parameters with
Pollution Control Boards servers for public view

Mr. L.W. Khongwir, ED, inaugurating the facility.


Bongaigaon Refinery has successfully linked all its emission
releasing stack data on online basis with Central Pollution Control
Board (CPCB) and Pollution Control Board of Assam (PCBA)
server for public view. The green initiative has been taken by the
refinery as per the guidelines issued by CPCB to all Petroleum
Refineries to install Online Continuous Stack Emission Monitoring
systems (CEMS) for the industry/ sector specific parameters as
laid down in consent to operate/authorizations by Pollution
Control Board of Assam (PCBA).
Mr. LW Khongwir, ED, BGR inaugurated the hook-up of online
data linkage of SO2, NOX, CO & SPM parameters of all 13
stacks of Bongaigaon Refinery with CPCB on 9th June, 2016 in
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June 2016

the presence of Mr. RK Sharma, GM(Projects), Mr. GC Sikder,


GM(T), Mr. A Kalita, GM(TS &HSE) and other senior officials.
Inaugurating the system, Mr. Khongwir appreciated the team's
collective effort in executing the process and emphasized on how
this green initiative will be instrumental in sustaining long-term
environmental requirements. Speaking further, he reiterated
BGR's strong commitment to environmental concern and
protection.

Environment Monitoring Architecture.


Besides this, the refinery has also hooked-up the data of SO2,
NOX, CO & SPM to respective plant Direct Control Systems
(DCS) for monitoring and better operational control by Production
group. The data is also displayed in the plant main gate on realtime basis. Earlier, Bongaigaon Refinery linked its Ambient Air
Quality Monitoring System to CPCB in 2009, Stack Monitoring
System in 2011 and Effluent Monitoring System in 2015. All these
parameters are also linked to PCBA server at Guwahati since
29th June, 2015. With this, as of now, Bongaigaon Refinery has
complied with all requirements under CPCB/PCBA/CREP
guidelines.
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June 2016

Earlier, Mr. JJ Das, DGM (P&U & Inst) explained the whole
procedure of online data monitoring system to the senior
management.

World Environment Day : 5th June

It is imperative to make lifestyle changes to be sincere to


the cause of environment, Director (Refineries)
The World Environment Day (WED) was marked in Refineries
Division during a meeting held for discussion on the roll-out of
BS-VI fuels from IndianOil refineries. Two posters with evocative
messages on WED and roll-out of BS-VI fuels were released on
the occasion.
Mr. Sanjiv Singh, Director (Refineries) said, On the corporate
front we shall be taking a giant leap in terms of protection of
environment with the launch of BS-IV and BS-VI fuels. But we
should go beyond our business scape, the IndianOil team is
equipped with finest pool of technical talent, and we should help
the villagers around our units to technologically innovate their
farming and irrigation in an eco-friendly manner. IndianOil
refineries can take the help of experts and institutes engaged in
conservation activities to explore more and more opportunities to
conserve water in the units and around it. The young engineers in
Refineries Division should come forward and take up these
responsibilities with passion and enthusiasm.
Reflecting on the World Environment Day theme Go Wild For
Life, Mr. Singh said that individuals should avoid purchasing
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June 2016

products made from wild life like ivory, etc. He also said that it is
imperative to make lifestyle changes to be sincere to the cause of
environment. People are driving for short distances travel instead
of walking, and taking plastic bags from shops instead of carrying
cloth bags from homes. These small changes will go a big way in
conservation of environment and precious resources. He
reminisced that just few decades back water was freely and
abundantly available and we did not buy water back then, but
gradually big cities started selling water. This is, indeed, a big
impact. We need to develop a community responsibility towards
precious and essential resources for the sake of our future
generations.
Director (Refineries) signed off saying that the most essential
component for environment conservation is individual attitude and
all of us should strive to live in harmony with Nature. We should
make children as important drivers for spreading the message &
awareness about environment conservation.

Cleaning Up Dcades of Phosphorus Pollution in


Lakese
Mon, 06/06/2016 - 12:25pmby Elsevier

Geo-engineering applications of a modified zeolite product called


"Aqual-P" at Lake Karo, New Zealand. Source: Image courtesy of
Andy Bruere, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, New Zealand

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June 2016

Phosphorus is the biggest cause of water quality degradation


worldwide, causing 'dead zones', toxic algal blooms, a loss of
biodiversity and increased health risks for the plants, animals and
humans that come in contact with polluted waters. This threatens
the loss of economic and social benefits from freshwaters upon
which society relies. In a series of studies published in a special
issue of Water Research, leading scientists assess how geoengineering in lakes can control phosphorus pollution.
After decades of run-off from agriculture, human sewage and
industrial practices, phosphorus has been stock piled at an
alarming rate in our lake bed sediments. The scale of the problem
is daunting, and humans are still pumping about 10 million tonnes
of extra phosphorus into our freshwaters every year. Long-term
monitoring activities following the control of phosphorus sources
to lakes show that plants and animals don't recover for many
years. This is because phosphorus stored in bed sediments is
released back to the water column. Society then has to make a
decision - either speed up recovery using geo-engineering to cap
sediment phosphorus stores, or do nothing, and accept poor
quality freshwaters for decades to come. Geo-engineering is
contentious, costly, and the side effects are not well known. This
special issue brings together 60 authors from 12 countries to
present evidence on this approach.
Miquel Lrling, lead author and guest editor, Freshwater
Ecologist, University of Wageningen, the Netherlands, explains
that "The scale of this problem has driven the development of a
vibrant green economy sector. Our special issue uncovered an
alarming number of emerging materials being proposed for use in
lakes. The potential for unintended side effects when using novel
untested materials is high. A common conclusion of a number of
papers was that it is essential to conduct comprehensive
assessments of candidate lakes prior to any treatments. We
reviewed these considerations in our editorial paper and stress
the need to ensure the safe and effective use of this approach."
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June 2016

With the recent introduction of water quality targets and deadlines


for standing waters including the EU Water Framework Directive
and the Clean Water Act in the USA, the need for approaches like
geo-engineering is growing. About 40% of lakes in Europe are
failing current water quality targets and combined economic
losses in the USA associated with high phosphorus levels in
freshwaters is estimated at $2.2 billion annually. There is a need
to develop approaches that effectively control phosphorus
pollution in freshwaters. This special issue draws on a wide range
of laboratory and field scale experiments to produce the most
comprehensive analysis of this approach for phosphorus
management to date.
Bryan Spears, lead author and guest editor, Freshwater
Ecologist, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK, commented: "Our
papers assessed the ecological and chemical responses across
over 100 lake treatments from around the world. It's safe to say
the approach is widespread and global. Most case studies used
either aluminum salts or lanthanum modified bentonite additions
to control phosphorus. The responses were highly variable across
the lakes. In some cases dramatic and sudden improvements
were reported in chemical and ecological quality, in others
nothing really happened, or the responses were short lived. To
improve confidence in the use of the approach a series of papers
presented models to predict responses in candidate lakes. One
key conclusion is that although this mitigation approach is
promising when used correctly and in combination with catchment
management, it should not simply be used to off-set the effects of
poor environmental behavior."
Geo-engineering in lakes is also being targeted at other
environmental problems. Emerging approaches include the
control of greenhouse gas emissions from lakes and the control of
toxic cyanobacteria for human health. For example, geoengineering approaches were utilized in the 2012 London
Olympic Games, the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and
have been proposed for use in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic
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June 2016

Games to ensure acceptable levels of health risk to athletes


during open water events.

U.S. blames Plains pipeline company for Santa


Barbara oil spill
LOS ANGELES | BY STEVE GORMAN
Numerous lapses in safety measures, judgment and planning by
Plains All American Pipeline LP led to and worsened a major oil
spill last year that fouled miles of shoreline and ocean near Santa
Barbara, California, the U.S. Transportation Department said on
Thursday.
The agency said it would focus next on "enforcement options"
against the Houston-based company for the rupture of an
underground petroleum pipeline that federal inspectors have
found was severely worn by corrosion.
In their final report on the spill, federal investigators concluded
that Plains "failed on multiple levels to prevent, detect and
respond to this incident," said Marie Therese Dominguez, head of
the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous
Materials Safety Administration.
While the immediate cause of the rupture was external decay, the
company was at fault for failing to protect the pipeline from
corrosion beforehand and to promptly detect and respond to the
spill once it occurred, the agency said in a statement.
The report came two days after Plains was indicted in California
on 46 state criminal charges stemming from the spill, which
environmental groups seized on to warn of hazards posed by an
aging U.S. oil and gas industry infrastructure.
By the company's own estimate, as much as 3,400 barrels of
crude gushed onto the shore and into the Pacific Ocean when the
company's 24-inch Line 901 burst along a coastal highway about
20 miles (32 km) west of Santa Barbara on May 19, 2015.
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June 2016

The spill, linked to the deaths of hundreds of sea birds and


marine mammals, forced closure of two state beaches and left
slicks that stretched over 9 miles of the ocean.
It ranks as the largest spill to hit the ecologically sensitive but
energy-rich coastline northwest of Los Angeles since 1969's
100,000-barrel blowout in the Santa Barbara Channel.
The severity of the 2015 spill was compounded by flawed
response planning that overlooked the presence of a roadside
culvert beside the pipeline that acted as a channel for escaping
crude to flow easily to the sea, the federal report said.
An internal pipeline inspection conducted two weeks before the
accident revealed far less corrosion than actually existed, the
report said, citing shortcomings in both the inspection tool and the
company's analysis of its data.
Plains said it was reviewing the report but declined to comment
on its findings.
Line 901 typically carried about 1,200 barrels of oil an hour from
an Exxon Mobile processing plant to a longer pipeline 10 miles
away, Line 903, which transported the oil on to gathering facilities
and refineries inland.
Both lines have since been shut down, forcing Exxon and two
other companies to idle a total of seven offshore platforms that
account for roughly 38,000 barrels of oil a day, Santa Barbara
County officials say.

Indian berries may fight dengue mosquitoes


August 29, 2011 01:40 PM HONG KONG (Reuters)
Berries of a common weed found in India may be effective in
fighting mosquitoes that spread dengue fever, a study has found.
Synthetic insecticides are increasingly useless in fighting diseasespreading mosquitoes, such as the Stegomyia aegypti that can
spread dengue and yellow fever viruses.
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June 2016

In the online open-access journal BMC Complementary and


Alternative Medicine, scientists in India described how they used
juice and extracts from the Solanum villosum weed and found it
was particularly effective in eliminating S. aegypti larvae.
"The extract ... from the plant could be used in stagnant water
bodies which are known to be the breeding grounds for
mosquitoes," Nandita Chowdhury, Anupam Ghosh and Goutam
Chandra from Burdwan University in India's West Bengal wrote.
They went on to discover the juices contained certain chemical
compounds.
"These act as a repellent which protect(s) against the lethal
effects of the larval mosquitoes," they added.
From Africa to Asia to Latin America, around 2.5 billion people
live in areas where they are at risk of dengue fever. There is no
vaccine or drugs to treat the illness, which killed an estimated
22,000 people last year, most of them children.
Due to international travel and climate change, the aegypti
mosquito's habitat is spreading.
In January, health officials warned that the disease was poised to
move across the United States. It has been spreading
aggressively in Latin America and the Caribbean, reaching
epidemic levels last year.
Of the 50 million people who contract the disease every year,
about one percent get potentially deadly severe dengue
hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which requires hospitalization.
(Reporting by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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June 2016

Climate Change
Record number of countries to sign Paris climate
accord
IANS | Apr 8, 2016, 09.53 PM IST

UNITED NATIONS: A record number of countries are expected to


sign a historic climate agreement at a ceremony on April 22, the
deputy UN spokesman said.
More than 130 countries have confirmed that they will sign the
Paris Agreement on April 22, the first day that the accord adopted
in December in Paris will be open for signature, Farhan Haq said
at a daily news briefing here on Thursday.
"This is expected to surpass the previous record of 119
signatures for an opening day signing for an international
agreement, set by the Law of the Sea in Montego Bay (in
Jamaica) in 1994," he said.
More than 60 heads of state and government will be attending the
signing ceremony to be hosted at UN Headquarters in New York
by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, demonstrating the
continued high level of engagement by world leaders to accept
and implement the Paris Agreement, he said.
"The signing ceremony will mark the first step toward ensuring
that the Paris Agreement enters into force as early as possible,"
Haq said.
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June 2016

"The agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55


countries, accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse gas
emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance
with the secretary-general."
Adopted by the 196 parties of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement sets a
target of holding the global average rise in temperature below two
degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and preferably below
1.5 degrees.
On the basis of common but differentiated responsibilities and
respective capabilities, developed countries agreed to raise $100
billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries transform their
economies.

Misaligned mirrors cause fire at world's largest solar


power plant in California
The plant works by using mirrors to focus sunlight on boilers at
the top of three 459-foot towers, creating steam that drive
turbines to produce electricity.
AP | 21 May 2016,
NEVADA | May 20: A small fire shut down a generating tower
Thursday at the world's largest solar power plant, leaving the
sprawling facility on the California-Nevada border operating at
only a third of its capacity, authorities said.
Firefighters had to climb some 300 feet up a boiler tower at the
Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California after fire
was reported on an upper level around 9:30 a.m., fire officials
said.
The plant works by using mirrors to focus sunlight on boilers at
the top of three 459-foot towers, creating steam that drive
turbines to produce electricity.
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June 2016

But some misaligned mirrors instead focused sunbeams on a


different level of Unit 3, causing electrical cables to catch fire, San
Bernardino County, California fire Capt. Mike McClintock said.
David Knox, spokesman for plant operator NRG Energy, said it
was too early to comment on the cause, which was under
investigation.
The fire was located about two-thirds of the way up the tower,
said Jeff Buchanan of Nevada's Clark County Fire Department,
which also responded to the blaze.
Plant personnel had the fire out by the time firefighters reached
the spot, and it was officially declared out in about 20 minutes.
Photos showed melted and scorched steam ducts and water
pipes.
Knox said the tower was offline while crews assess the damage.
He could not immediately say when it would restart.
The plant can produce enough power for 140,000 California
homes, but a second tower is shut down for maintenance, leaving
only one running.
It was not immediately clear what impact that would have on
California's electricity supply.
It was the first fire at the plant, which opened two years ago on
federal land in the Mojave Desert about 45 miles southwest of
Las Vegas.
The $2.2 billion complex has nearly 350,000 computer controlled
mirrors _ each roughly the size of a garage door _ that sprawl
over roughly five square miles of desert

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June 2016

Canadian energy board establishes pipeline safety


committee
MAY 20, 2016
FEATURED,
INTEGRITY
AMERICA, REGIONS

&

MAINTENANCE,

NORTH

The National Energy Board (NEB) and the Canadian Energy


Pipeline Association (CEPA) have established a Joint Committee
on Issues of Mutual Interest for Federally Regulated Pipelines.
The two organisations have released a signed Terms of
Reference that sets out the mandate and limitations of the Joint
Committees work and establishes its membership.
Senior leadership from the NEB and CEPA will co-chair and
participate in Joint Committee meetings.
The purpose of the Joint Committee is to exchange information
and ensure proactive issue identification on topics of mutual
interest to the NEB and CEPA.
The organisation will discuss and prioritise opportunities such as:

Company management systems audits and simplification

CEPAs Integrity First implementation

The advancement of safety culture across the pipeline


industry

Development of processes and lines of communication


between the NEB and CEPA for the purposes of bestpractices information exchange, regulatory efficiencies, and
regulatory policy development

Common approaches to align pipeline safety indicators.


The Joint Committees three-part mandate includes collaborative
work on operational matters, the regulatory process, and lifecycle
Issues.
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June 2016

Speaking on the formation of the committee, National Energy


Board Chair and CEO Peter Watson said The NEB continues to
keep pipelines safe and the environment protected. At the same
time, we continue to find ways to meet the evolving needs of our
stakeholders and the broader Canadian community.
Through the Joint Committee, we expect enhanced safety and
environmental outcomes for all Canadians.
For further information visit the NEB website.

Sustainability
Using nanostructured filters to reduce
pollution

shipping

04.05.16 - Cargo ships are among the leading sources of


pollution on the planet. Starting in 2020, however, stricter sulfur
emission standards will take effect. A low-cost solution for
reaching the new targets may come from an EPFL start-up, which
is developing a nanostructured filter for use in a ships exhaust
stacks.
Around 55,000 cargo ships ply the oceans every day, powered by
a fuel that is dirtier than diesel. And owing to lax standards,
maritime transport has emerged as one of the leading emitters
alongside air transport of nitrogen oxide and sulfur. But the
International Maritime Organization has enacted tighter emission
limits, with new standards set to take effect in 2020. In response,
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June 2016

an EPFL start-up is developing a low-cost and eco-friendly


solution: a filter that can be installed in the ships exhaust stacks.
The start-up, Daphne Technology, could do well on this massive
market.
Lowering sulfur emissions to below 1%
Under laboratory conditions, the nanostructured filter is able to cut
sulfur emissions to below 1% and nitrogen oxide emissions to
15% of the current standards. This is a major improvement,
seeing as the new standards will require an approximately 14%
reduction in sulfur emissions.
Manufacturing the filters is similar to manufacturing solar cells. A
thin metal plate titanium in this case is nanostructured in order
to increase its surface area, and a number of substances are
deposited in extremely thin layers. The plates are then placed
vertically and evenly spaced, creating channels through which the
toxic gases travel. The gases are captured by the nanostructured
surfaces. This approach is considered eco-friendly because the
substances in the filter are designed to be recycled. And the
exhaust gas itself becomes inert and could be used in a variety of
products, such as fertilizer.
The main challenges now are to figure out a way to make these
filters on large surfaces, and to bring down the cost. It was at
EPFLs Swiss Plasma Center that researcher Mario Michan found
a machine that he could modify to meet his needs: it uses plasma
to deposit thin layers of substances. The next step is to produce a
prototype that can be tested under real-world conditions.
The idea to solve the problem of toxic gas emissions came to the
researcher after working on merchant freighters while completing
his Masters in microtechnology. It took several years, some
techniques he picked up in the various labs in which he worked,
and a few patents for Michan to make headway on his project. It
was while he was working in another field at CERN and observing
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June 2016

the technologies used to coat the inside of particle accelerators


that he discovered a process needed for his original concept. An
EPFL patent tying together the various aspects of the technology
and several manufacturing secrets should be filed this year.
According to the European Environment Agency, merchant ships
give off 204 times more sulfur than the billion cars on the roads
worldwide. Michan estimates that his nanostructured filters, if they
were used by all cargo ships, would reduce these emissions to
around twice the level given off by all cars, and the ships would
not need to switch to another fuel. Other solutions exist, but his
market research showed that they were all lacking in some way:
Marine diesel fuel is cleaner but much more expensive and
would drive up fuel costs by 50% according to ship owners. And
the other technologies that have been proposed cannot be used
on boats or they only cut down on sulfur emissions without
addressing the problem of nitrogen oxide.

Transport: A cardboard bicycle sounds as plausible


as a chocolate teapot. But that has not stopped one
inventor from building one
Dec 1st 2012 | From the print edition
All a board
THE first bicycles were
made of wood. Cycle
manufacturers
then
switched to steel tubes.
These days, for highend bikes where weight
is at a premium, they
use aluminium alloys or
even carbon fibre. But Izhar Gafni, an amateur cyclist who owns a
number of such fancy bikes, wonders whether the original
inventors had a point. He proposes to go back to using woodor,
rather, a derivative of wood, namely cardboard.
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June 2016

Mr Gafni, who is based in Ahituv, Israel, spent years trying to


work out how to make a cardboard bicycle able to support the
weight of a human being. The trick is twofold. First, he folds the
cardboardcommercial-grade material, made from recycled
paperto increase its strength. (He worked out the exact pattern
of folding for each of the machines components using the
principles of origami.) Then, once it is folded, he treats the result
with a proprietary resin that holds it in shape and stiffens it, before
cutting it into the form of the component required. A second
application of resin renders the component waterproof, and a lick
of lacquer makes it look good. The result, Mr Gafni claims, is
stronger than carbon fibre.
The bikes frame, wheels, handlebars and saddle are all made of
cardboard in this way, and then fitted together. The tyresagain
harking back to the early days of cyclingare composed of solid
rubber, which is recycled from old car tyres. That makes the ride a
little harder than if the tyres were pneumatic, but means they
cannot be punctured.
The chain, based on the timing belt of a car, is also made from
car-tyre rubber. The pedals are plastic recycled from bottles and
the brakes are recycled too, though Mr Gafni is not yet ready to
disclose the details. The finished product weighs 9kg, a bit less
than an ordinary bike, and can carry a rider weighing 220kg.
Mr Gafnis target market is the poorer countries of the world.
Because manufacturing the cardboard bike will, he reckons, cost
$9-12 a unit, his design is far more affordable than a steel-framed
bike. But people in rich countries may be interested too. In Tel
Aviv, the commercial capital of Mr Gafnis native land, 2,000
stolen bikes were recently put on display by police, for their
owners to claim. If bicycles cost less than the locks that chained
them to lampposts, thieves might not think it worthwhile to steal
them.
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June 2016

Getting the most out of your sustainability program


August 2015 Sustainability initiatives wont create lasting
value if theyre poorly managed. Here are four lessons from
companies that are doing is right
Among
retailers
and
consumer-goods
manufacturers,
commitment to environmental and social objectives can take
many formswhether its distributing fair-trade products, reducing
materials used in packaging, or ensuring humane working
conditions at suppliers factories. Unilever, for one, has a detailed
Sustainable Living Plan, and among the companys goals for
2020 is to halve the greenhouse-gas impact of its products over
their life cycles. Swedish furniture maker IKEA has installed more
than 700,000 solar panels in its buildings worldwide and has
committed to own and operate more than 300 wind turbines.
British retail group Kingfishers sustainability plan, which it calls
Net Positive, aims not only to make frugal use of natural
resources but also to restore and regenerate the environment
putting back more than we take out, as the company says.
These programs can be powerful agents of change, both toward
greater alignment between customer and corporate interests and
toward a culture of systemwide innovation in products and
business models. Yet some skepticism remains as to whether
sustainability efforts have any impact on financial performance in
the short and medium term. Our recent research provides
answers to both of these questions.1In this article, we discuss
how companies are creating value from their sustainability
programs and what practices enable companies to keep these
programs running smoothly and effectively.
How sustainability programs create value
In previous work, our colleagues have outlined the various ways
that companies can use sustainability initiatives to manage risk,
drive growth, or improve returns on capital (Exhibit 1).2In our
latest research, we sought to unearth examples of how
companies are actually doing it. We found that companies that
built sustainability into their operations saw immediate benefits,
which gave them the momentum to do even more.
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June 2016

Exhibit 1

Risk management
Of the companies we surveyed,3more than 90 percent could point
to a specific event or risksuch as consumer pressure or soaring
commodity pricesthat directly triggered their commitment to
sustainability. More than half cited long-term risks to their
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June 2016

businesses: 26 percent said they wanted to avoid damage to their


reputations, 15 percent were seeking to prevent regulatory
problems, and 15 percent said they wanted to eliminate
unnecessary operational risks. Indeed, we found that the value at
stake from risk-related sustainability issues can be as high as 70
percent of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and
amortization (Exhibit 2).
Exhibit 2

What do these risk-management efforts look like in practice? The


US-based candy companies Mars and Hershey offer two
examples. To secure their future supply of cocoa, both companies
are investing in the sustainability of their suppliers. Mars supports
smallholder cocoa farmers in Cte dIvoire by providing highquality seeds and fertilizers as well as training; it is also investing
in research to improve the quality and performance of cocoa
plants. Hershey sends experts to teach its suppliers best-practice
farming methods; its CocoaLink mobile-phone service offers
advice and market information. The company also contributes to
local education initiatives and the fight against child labor. Both
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June 2016

companies have set a goal of having their entire cocoa supply


sustainably sourced by 2020.
Growth
Nearly half the companies we surveyed (44 percent) cited
business and growth opportunities as the impetus for starting their
sustainability programs. Redesigning products to make them
more sustainable, for instance, can yield tremendous financial
benefits. Unilever developed a brand of dishwashing liquid,
Sunlight, that is equally effective but uses much less water than
other brands; sales of Sunlight and Unilevers other water-saving
products are outpacing category growth by more than 20 percent
in certain water-scarce markets.
Apparel companies such as Europes C&A now use organic
cotton, which is grown without synthetic chemicals or genetically
modified seeds. Consumer demand for organic cotton is rising: in
2014, C&A sold 130 million garments made from the fabric, up
from 85 million in 2012. C&A plans to use organic cotton in 100
percent of its cotton products by 2020.
Returns on capital
Most of the companies we surveyed said their sustainability
initiatives began with a focus on reducing resource consumption:
97 percent of them are conducting initiatives to increase energy
efficiency, 91 percent to reduce waste, and 85 percent to save
water in day-to-day operations.
Puma, the sporting-goods manufacturer, has been measuring its
ecological footprint and that of its largest suppliers since 2005. It
aims to reduce the waste it generates, as well as its water and
energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, by 25 percent
compared with 2010. The company is making steady progress:
between 2010 and 2013, Puma reduced waste generated per
employee by 35 percent and cut energy consumption by 4.2
percent.
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June 2016

Bringing discipline to sustainability programs


Even with a sustainability agenda in place, companies often
encounter problems with execution. To bring more discipline to
their sustainability efforts, companies would do well to follow four
principles commonly associated with performance management:
select a few focus areas, set measurable goals, conduct costbenefit analyses, and create incentives for employees and
suppliers.
Focus, focus, focus
We found that many companies choose more than 10 areas in
which to concentrate their sustainability efforts; some choose
more than 30. Its hard to imagine how a sustainability agenda
with such a large number of focus areas can get the necessary
buy-in and resources to be successful. In our experience, the best
approach for maximizing impact is to select three, or at most five,
strategic priorities.
For example, Coca-Colas sustainability frameworkwhich it calls
Me, We, Worldencompasses its initiatives to improve personal
health and wellness, the communities in which it operates, and
the environment. The company reports making material, tangible
progress on metrics related to three specific areas of focus within
this framework: well-being, women, and water.
To emulate Coca-Colas success in identifying focus areas that
are a good fit with corporate strategy, a company should study
what matters most along its entire value chain through internal
analysis and dialogue with suppliers, customers, regulators, and
nongovernmental organizations. The end product of these efforts
shouldnt be a mere laundry list of vague ideas but rather a
systematic sustainability agenda.
Set measurable goals
For each focus area, a company then needs to set clear,
quantifiable goals with a long-term orientation (five years or more)
and communicate those goals both internally and externally.
Notice the difference between a general aspiration to reduce the
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June 2016

impact of our packaging on the environment and a specific,


measurable goal to eliminate 20 million pounds of packaging by
2016. Another example of a specific goal comes from a coalition
of apparel retailers and manufacturers including Benetton, H&M,
Inditex, and Marks and Spencer: these companies are aiming for
supply networks with zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by
2020.
Publicizing quantifiable goals motivates the organization, forces
leaders to allocate resources, and promotes accountability. An
analysis of companies that are part of the Carbon Disclosure
Project found that those that announced their goals to the public
did better when it came to cutting emissionsand also had better
financial returns on such investments.
Conduct
cost-benefit
analyses
and
communicate
the
results
Making the business
case for sustainability
might sound like an
obvious thing to do, but
apparently it isnt. Only around a fifth of survey respondents
reported that the financial benefits are clearly understood across
the organization.
Many companies have struggled to quantify the financial impact
of their social and environmental initiatives, in part because of the
distributed nature of that impact: savings or profits arising from
sustainability initiatives are commonly spread across various parts
of an organization. It is therefore advisable to appoint an
executive as the owner of each target, meaning his or her team
continually tracks the costs and benefits of sustainability actions.
Tracking should also extend to indirect effects, such as an
enhanced corporate reputation and increased customer loyalty,
which pay off over the longer term.
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June 2016

F2F
Transforming Indian Power Sector
Piyush Goel
Minister of Power , Coal & Renewable Energy, Govt of
India
Efforts by the Power Ministry to kick-start stalled power projects
have led to nearly 46,000 megawatt (MW) of additional power
capacity coming on board, says Coal and Power Minister Piyush
Goyal.
In an interview to CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan, Goyal discussed
the achievements of the government in the power sector as it
completes two years in office.
Even as the government has succeeded in increasing power
production, some say demand continues to remain tepid given the
state of power distribution companies and the broader economy.
But Goyal said the ministry was taking steps to boost
demand.
"One is increasing penetration of power for people of India.
Second is we are trying to work with mobile companies to see
how we can ensure uninterrupted power through the towers. We
are working to see how electric vehicles in the long run become
another source of big demand," he said.
Below is the verbatim transcript of Piyush Goyals interview with
Shereen Bhan on CNBC-TV18.
Q: Can we expect now Tamil Nadu to join forces with you?

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June 2016

A: Of course and where was the acrimony? There was no


acrimony at all.
Q: There was an acrimonious exchange publically.
A: A question was asked to me at a CII function relating to Tamil
Nadu delaying the payments of their renewable energy suppliers
and I innocuously mentioned that very difficult to reach out
because I have been wanting to meet the Chief Minister and I
have not been able to meet her. Then of course for whatever
reasons it became a political issue in the election -- elections will
always have these kind of side shows.
Q: Of course elections will always have the side shows,
elections are over, the verdict is in now, so, do we expect
movement on Tamil Nadu coming on board?
A: The whole concept of Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojna (UDAY)
is in the interest of people of India and I am sure that people of
Tamil Nadu also deserve better. In fact when we did the working,
Tamil Nadu enjoys the maximum benefit out of UDAY considering
they have had huge losses in the past.
Now, there was this one issue which I had publically mentioned
also, that Tamil Nadu is a unique case which has a discom,
transmission company and generating company all in one. So,
one will have to allocate that debt into the three separate buckets
and then one can work out what is to be done. Of course the
Chief Minister wrote some letter requesting for several things but
requests are always made and we have decided that there is no
subsidy involved.
The government is not giving any money to anybody and all the
states have come on board. However, should Tamil Nadu still
choose to continue to bleed, continue to not be able to serve their
people and continue to incur Rs 10,000 crore loss or whatever
loss they are suffering every year that is a choice which is open to
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June 2016

them, it is a voluntary scheme. However, I would think any


sensible decision would go towards joining UDAY.
Q: Bonds worth Rs 1 lakh crore have been issued as part of
the UDAY scheme. 18 states, 1 union territory on board now.
You are hoping that Tamil Nadu will come on board as well.
But in earnest when can we actually see the impact on the
ground. Coal is suffering on account of that. You are now
faced with a problem of plenty as far as coal is concerned.
You have got an inventory that you are trying to auction off
because of coal off take being low. When can we actually
realistically see a turnaround?
A: You have got your concept wrong. How do you say that coal
off take is low? It is coal production is high. So, we have actually
produced more.
Q: Coal production is high, fair point, at a record high. But
coal off take also has been on the lower side because there
has been low demand from sectors like steel, cement and
power?
A: No, I am sorry about it. You again had it wrong. Imports have
fallen because we have been able to replace imports with
domestic coal, point one. Point two, power demand is usually
correlated to the economy. So, in the years 2012 to 2014 power
demand grew by five percent. In the years 2014 to 2016 it grew
by seven percent. So, we are on a growth trajectory, the economy
is growing, power demand is growing. And this is on the back of
huge thrust to energy efficiency. So, effectively if I had not done
energy efficiency it would have grown big even more.
Secondly you must appreciate that nearly 46,000 megawatts
additional capacity has come on board. So, it is not as if the
demand is less. We have been able to start all the stalled projects
or most of them at least quickly in the last two years. So, that has
extended capacity disproportionate to any possible growth in
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June 2016

demand. However that being so we are now focussing on how we


can get long term measures to increase demand. One is of
course the greater penetration to the people of India. Second is
we are trying to work with mobile companies to see how we can
ensure uninterrupted power through the towers. We are working
to see how electrical vehicles in the long run become another
source of big demand.
I suggested to Madhya Pradesh the other day why don't you look
at giving a ten year contract to your industry to support the Make
in India program at an attractive price. So, typically what do you
do, you say the tariff is six months I will give you Rs 0.50 rebate,
or Rs 1 debate if you set up an industry in my place. And say why
not do it reverse. I will give you power for 10 years at Rs 4 or at
Rs 3.5 and encourage industry to come to your state, encourage
industrialisation, new job opportunities. So, we are changing the
rules of the game, just turning it upside down to see how we can
rapidly ramp up demand of power.
Having said that UDAY has so many elements and each one
contributes. Today I had the Rajasthan review meeting with the
state government of Rajasthan. We will be immensely happy to
know that Vasundhra Rajeji, the honourable Chief Minister who
inherited nearly Rs 15,000 crore annual loss some Rs 80,000
crore accumulated loss and debt. She has been one of the most
proactive beneficiaries of UDAY. They have already done a large
part of their Rs 35,000 - 40,000 crore of UDAY bonds. They have
got approval for another Rs 20,800 crore already.Today we have
discussed rollout of their discom state government guaranteed
bonds and they have agreed to move that quickly.
They have been able to save on their coal consumption through
cutting down imports and more rational utilisation of their capacity
by about Rs 0.50 per unit they told me. They are now talking to
NTPC and Monday our NTPC team is going to be there to see
how we can look at the overall power purchase cost and help to
bring that down. So, we are working on financial cost, we are
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June 2016

working on efficiency and utilisation of coal with them, we are


working on efficient procurement of power. The honorable Chief
Minister is so sincere in her efforts to reduce Aggregate Technical
and Commercial Losses (AT&C), she has probably called a
meeting of all MLAs next week to discuss with them the program
to cut power theft.
Today we discussed that they will be looking at replacing every
meter in the state with a smart meter for real time monitoring of
power consumption. Today we also discussed that they will go
back and workout how to work on the replacement of all the
agricultural pumps with energy efficient pumps. So, I think game
changing things are being done by the state and the state which I
thought will take four years to convert from Rs 15,000 crore loss
to profit, now today was talking of three years and at the end of
todays meeting has said we will see if we can do it in two years,
by next year.
Q: Rajasthan you are saying has promised to bring down
losses in two years as oppose to the earlier three years?
A: They had promised to do in three years but after todays
meeting I have urged them to see if they can do it in two years
and they are seriously working on it.
Q: Are you seeing similar sort of energy and enthusiasm in
other states?
A: Absolutely. Look at Andhra Pradesh, look at the game
changing work in Haryana, outstanding work has gone into -Haryana could possibly turnaround into profit by next year. Uttar
Pradesh has also in that sense recognised that unless they serve
their people with power they are going to be having serious
problems. Unfortunately, the pace of work there is slow and there
are too many complications within the government machinery but
the sincerity is not lacking.
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June 2016

Q: So, the BJP states are doing better as far as adoption of


UDAY is concerned?
A: I spoke about Andhra Pradesh also. For that matter Gujarat
doesn\'t have any reason to be in UDAY. It is a state with only a
Rs 1,000 crore debt. I tell you honestly to take a pause from this
question. As much as study the Gujarat performance and what
they had done since 2002-2003 is truly remarkable, it is a Harvard
Business School test. Today it is power surplus, everybody gets
power. I studied the power tariff increases over the last 12 years, I
found it to be amongst the lowest increase in the country. Profit
making all the companies, and the total debt that they have is Rs
1,000 crore. It is really so invigorating and charges you up that if
Gujarat can do it we can do it in all the states.
Q: You have been touring whether it is London or New York,
you had a large investor conference here inviting people to
participate in India\'s renewable energy program. In terms of
outcomes what can we really say has been achieved whether
it is by way of FDI or proposed FDI because you have got a
very ambitious target on the renewable side as well?
A: We started off with a 20,000 megawatt target by 2022 by the
erstwhile government. We will achieve that next year itself, five
years ahead of schedule. Last year in the 12 months which has
gone by we bid out 21,000 megawatts of solar power projects.
Many of them within the solar parks. So, land, transmission all
taken care of. All the projects have a PPA with a reasonable good
counter party. Most of them with NTPC or a performing discom.
Now, if that is possible in a short span of 12 years achieving a
100,000 megawatt by 2022 is clearly doable. Next year we add at
least 10,500 as target but we will add at least 13,000 in the
current year what we are doing now for which we bid out this
21,000. So, I have a cushion and a buffer which is why I say by
the next year I am 100 percent confident. Sometime in 2017 we
will cross 20,000, five years ahead of schedule. First time after
many years we have added capacity more than the target, 3,600
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June 2016

or something of that sort. Today we have in fact released two


year achievements and you would find a plethora of information
there which will make you proud as an Indian to get everything
else.
Q: And for the second year running your ministry has
continued to be in the top performing ministry as part of the
CNBC-TV18 poll. I won\'t give you the details just yet, you will
have to wait for the 25th.
A: Though I don\'t accept that really.
Q: Why not?
A: You are being a little uncharitable. This could not have been
possible unless it was a combined effort of the entire system. So,
the Prime Minister\'s guidance, the Finance Minister's support, the
environment minister going out of the way to sort out my issues.
Lot of the renewables things are now all made into category
where you don\'t require approvals. Now these are not line
ministries, they are like staff ministries. So, finance, environment
all of these remain in the background. They don\'t come in the
forefront. So, I may often be getting credit for a lot of the things I
don\'t deserve really.
Q: In terms of FDI specifically on the renewable side what
can we expect, what is the target there?
A: I am not one of those who is very desperate for foreign
investment or who is going around pleading for foreign
investment. If any of your colleagues has been any of my minister
meets and you know they we are all open. All my meetings are
with everybody around. Nothing confidential. If they have made
any unreasonable request I have been quick to point out it is not
going to happen.

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June 2016

Q: So, what are those unreasonable request that they are


making which may come in the way of FDI?
A: Somebody wanted if should not the central government do a
backstop guarantee to everyone of these PPA. I said I am sorry.
You want a sovereign guaranteed bond to be issued. I will issue
that, I will take the money and I will enjoy it at very low rates and
do it myself. So, if you want a reward you better take your risk.
So, ultimately it is all a risk/reward ratio. Investors have to
appreciate that. And they have no shortage of money.
Q: But foreign investors still find that perhaps the risks
outweigh the rewards at this point in time?
A: Not at all. Otherwise I wouldn\'t have had such huge
competitive bids for 21,000 megawatts in the last 12 months of
solar. I wouldn\'t have had wind guys now talking to me that hey,
bring us also into the reverse auction, the reverse bidding
process. They realised that the strength of that lies in cost
becoming competitive, suppliers also becoming competitive. After
all with a cost plus regime inefficiency tends to set in but in a pure
competitive regime everybody has equal opportunity. That is the
best way in India\'s interest.
Q: Let me ask you about solar, because this has got
everyone excited. Today when you said that Mr Kant has
given the recommendations for solar manufacturing and how
do you incentivise more manufacturing of solar panels in the
country. You spoke about subsidies which is what got the
market excited. What should we expect on that front?
A: What I am proposing on that front is, of course it is yet to be
finalised and then put up to the cabinet and we will need of
course financiers approval and now with the increased coal cess I
am quite confident that we will get that. We will have enough
funding to be able to take care of that. The idea is that India will
have to be self sufficient in our requirement also of the solar
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June 2016

equipment and in fact one very large investor who is committed to


doing 20,000 megawatts, in one of my first meetings with them in
India had mentioned that unless you manufacture it in India you
will never get it cheap because there are so many dimensions of
logistics, transport and all of that. He was of the opinion India
should look at manufacturing in a big way. I am hoping that they
will be able to develop at least 10 gigawatt integrated
manufacturing capacity, right from the silica wafers and chips and
modules and cells and everything. What we will do is we will bid
these projects out. We will talk to the states who are willing to
participate and encourage who want investments to come to their
states. I have asked them to look at a dimension on the lines what
I told you earlier. It can be guaranteed power, it is a power
guzzling investment. Can we guarantee power at a fixed price or
at a reasonably fixed price index to something with land and other
enablers so that these people can come and do plug and play
manufacturing.
Q: Dollar denominated tariffs is again something different?
A: That is a different thing. This is more about manufacturing. I
am then going to bid out these projects. So, companies around
the world and in India can look at expanding or coming up and
setting green field projects and bring manufacturing in India. We
are also seeing how to package it with some sort of an assured
business for five or seven years which will encourage more
people to manufacture.
Q: So, when do you take this to cabinet?
A: I still ought to get finance approval. So, I have still got to make
up my own mind the contours. I don\'t think slowly. I like to get
into every aspects, see it carefully, I want to make sure it is a fair
process. There is no unreasonable benefits to anybody and
ultimately make sure that all of this leads to India\'s people
benefitting out of it.
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June 2016

Q: So, you will still take a little bit of time before you this. Let
me ask you on the coal side, because I understand that at
this point in time at least auctions perhaps are unlikely to
take place over the next few months. The linkage auctions
will happen but the linkage auctions will happen but the coal
mine auctions perhaps will take a little longer?
A: You will agree that it is in India\'s interest to wait for some time
the international commodity market being what it is.
Q: But as far as the linkage auction you still require cabinet
approval?
A: Only for the power sector. The non regulated we start next
month.
Q: How soon early can we expect cabinet nod on linkage
auction for power sector?
A: Still some time away. I have to yet circulate that note for
comments of other ministries. So, a couple of months maybe.
Q: So, what is the plan now as far Coal India is concerned.
You have been able to take production for the coal sector to
a record high and aggressive capex plan for Coal India of
about USD 8-9 billion over the next couple of years, next five
years to be precise. Possible candidate for a buy back
divestment that continues to be on the table, what is the goal
now or what is the next goal as far as Coal India is
concerned?
A: I had set one primary goal and one secondary goal and I stand
by that. The primary goal was that coal India should produce 1
billion tonnes of coal by 2020. It should be of the right quality. So,
washing, crushing all of that become integral parts to that
program. It should be with maintaining safety and security of
workmen, good manufacturing practices, technology introduced in
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June 2016

the system, we are working on that. Skill development is of an


integral part of all our plans going forward. We have decided to
open new mines so, that we can expand production which work is
going on full swing, full speed ahead. We had along with that also
worked on ensuring that that will replace the imported thermal
coal, not coking as yet and for that it may need some
technological innovation for certain plants which are being set up
for design to use imported coal.
So, I have already talked to BHEL chairman and NTPC to sit
down and see what can be done on that. This was also to look at
transportation efficiency for which I have already brought out the
policy for efficient utilisation of domestic coal last month I think. All
of these things put together was that billion dollar plan and we are
well on track on different aspects of that plan. I would say this
was my secondary goal. My primary goal to my colleagues and I
think we are moving fast towards that was that when you walk out
on the street and tell anybody I worked for Coal India, I want that
man to look up to you and say with pride wow you are working for
Coal India. I want Coal India to be that company - respected
worldwide for its work, for its work culture, for its output, for its
service to India to ensure that the people of India get
uninterrupted affordable power.
Q: In terms of unlocking not to shareholder value, you are of
course talking about national value. However in terms of
unlocking shareholder value and a lot of the other companies
that fall under your various ministries, you have been talking
about NTPC through the course of this interview, what really
are the targets, what can we expect because these have been
companies that the market has been disappointed in the past
with?
A: Have they?
Q: Often depending on what has happened?
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June 2016

A: Often they have been disappointed with TCS, they have been
disappointed with Unilever. Unilever at one point was down the
nadir, I regret I didn't buy it at that time. I think it is time business
channel start recognising the great work some of these PSUs are
doing. Market may have its up's and down's and it happens to
everybody. It happens many times through global cues, it
happens many times because of various factors. So, I would urge
you that it is not the private sector alone which is messiah and
solution to all the problems. They are doing some wonderful work,
they have not disappointed at all, I think they have done
absolutely remarkable contribution both to India, to the stock
markets and have given huge shareholder value also.

RS Sharma, Former CMD, ONGC: Government's plan


for auction a welcome step from industry point of
view:
"The issue for the bidders would be since it is revenue sharing
model, cost recovery not being there."
ET Now | 25 May 2016
In an interview to ET Now,RS Sharma,
Former CMD, ONGC, sahres his views on
the government's plan about auctioning oil
fields. Edited excerpts:
ET Now: Let us talk about how you are
currently assessing the government's
plan for this auction, talking about
auctioning some of the small field 67 oilfields and 46 clusters
across the country.
RS Sharma: First of all, I must say from the industry point of view,
it is a welcome step. It is after the long wait of six years that
auction of the blocks has been launched by the government, so
that is a positive thing, better late than never, so we have been
hearing. So whatever reforms have been announced for these
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June 2016

blocks, again I feel a lot of interest should be there, especially


whatever in the brief it was mentioned earlier.
There is another positive part of this is that there will be no cess
applicable on the oil production from these fields. So these are
the positive stories and, of course, these are discovered fields.
There is not much of exploration risk. The only risk involved here
will be what will be the development cost and what is going to be
going forward the cost of IOR and EOR.
The issue for the bidders would be since it is revenue sharing
model, cost recovery not being there. So they will have to do very
detailed due diligence calculations, assessments and the
modelling to work out that what is the likely scenario of the
revenues, production to come from these fields and then
accordingly submit the bids for revenue sharing with the
government. That is a bit of challenge.
The industry would have welcomed the cost recovery but looking
to the controversy in the past, personally I feel this is the right
step to go ahead.
ET Now: Do you see government getting good response to
these auctions? How would you rate the potential of these
fields?
RS Sharma: Yes, potential is definitely there, since I know that
even when I was the heading ONGC, we did try to start
production from these fields asking the government that give
more fiscal incentives for production to begin from these fields.
Well, it is not being given only to ONGC.
It is an open offer to other bidders including international bidders.
So from the country's point of view, from the industry point of
view, the most important thing is that the activity will begin, the
production will start. Personally, as I know, reserve base is not
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June 2016

very huge but whatever it is that will go a long way to try to reduce
the import dependency.
ET Now: Let us also talk a little bit about the government's
aims to raise about Rs 77,000 crores via these to see them
get that kind of money. What exactly is your view?
RS Sharma: Well, I would not like to comment on these numbers
because these numbers were calculated when the crude oil price
was higher, gas prices were also higher. Right now, the pricing for
oil and gas is lower side. If not Rs 70,000 crores, even if Rs
50,000 crores, even if a lower number, I feel whatever
contribution comes, that will go a long way and most important
thing is starting the auction process, starting the investor inviting
the investor to invest in the Indian sedimentary basins that is a
positive story happening after six years and the bidding round
used to be every year.
That had been setback, no action taking place. Now it is positive
thing. I would also like to comment on something which you are
not asked but I feel very important - the global investors, even the
domestic players have been raising concerns about the regulatory
regime. So director general hydrocarbon, the institution has to be
strengthen and there has to be given more freedom to DGH to
take administrative decisions as the activity starts in terms of
approving field development plans in terms of like import, another
good thing here is that all imports for these fields will be duty
exempt.
Giving authorisations for the companies to import that
mechanism, actual support to the operators should come very
promptly and in a positive manner which in the past I must say
that it has not been that positive so that is one aspect the industry
will expect a more assurance when they do the road shows that
the regulatory regime has to be robust, has to be comfortable,
has to be reassuring from the investors so that is a very important
prerequisite.
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June 2016

Let us see to what extent it meets with the success but as again I
will repeat, better late than never. It is a welcome step on the part
of the government.

Sheriff Adam Christianson: Character and


competence
By Elliot Begoun, June 21, 2016

Lead Human, features interviews


and profiles conducted by Elliot
Begoun in search of answers to
the question "What is it like to be
a leader?"

As he writes in his introduction to this series, "There has been


some incredible wisdom and teaching shared on topics such as;
the definition of leadership, how to lead, and what it takes to
develop leaders. But, I have found little on what it is actually like
once you get there."
It was Memorial Day weekend at the lake. The weather was hot and the glistening water
offered a tantalizing invitation for refreshment. Two 15-year-old boys leapt into the water
and, sadly, never resurfaced.
The Sheriffs Dive Team, using its new side-scanning sonar for the first time, was
searching the lake for their bodies in a desperate attempt to offer the boys families the
hollow comfort of closure. Sheriff Adam Christianson had been out of town. But, as soon
as he arrived home, he suited up and made his way to the lake. He felt compelled to be
there to support his team as they continued their tragic mission. He wanted to provide
whatever comfort he could to the families, and he was interested in witnessing the first
deployment of the side-scanning sonar he fought so hard to get.
Not wanting to become a distraction, after a few hours he asked to be brought ashore.
As the jet boat made its way to the shallow water, and as he had done dozens of times
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June 2016

before, he jumped off the bow. This time, however, he was greeted by an audible
popping noise accompanied by a excruciating pain. Hours later, he found himself in the
recovery room after surgery to repair the ruptured tendons in both knees.
I was supposed to interview him the next day. I sent him my well-wishes for his recovery
and figured it would be months before we rescheduled. One week later, he invited me
into his home. He sat with his legs wrapped in bandages, encased in steel braces
locked at full extension, and hooked to suction machines that helped manage the
drainage and swelling. He was eager to talk about what it was like to lead.
But, before we even started the interview, he wanted to make it clear that leadership
came down to two simple things, character and competence, a theme that was
pervasive in his answers to my many questions.

What keeps you up at night?


When I asked him this question he closed his eyes, took in a
breath, and then said, The safety of my staff, the safety of my
deputies. He went on to say that We live in a dangerous world.
A world where lawlessness has become the norm. A world where
there is no respect for authority, and people are willing to murder
police officers.
I said that that must be a heavy burden to carry. As if he were
commenting on something as banal as the weather, or the color
of the couch I was sitting on, he said. Yep, it can be.
With whom and how much do you share, your fears, worries, and
insecurities?
He chuckled and said, Boy thats a tough question. He went on
to explain that he shared some things, but not everything, with his
wife. He shares a fair amount with his executive team because
they are his closest advisors. I prodded him a little further and
asked him about when he experienced doubt.
He was quick to respond. I dont doubt. Usually, I have a plan,
then a backup plan, and then a backup plan. There is no doubt,"
he added. He offered a wry smile, "I dont have a self-confidence
issue. He went on to explain that, At times this has been a
struggle, because people have mistaken that confidence for
arrogance."
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June 2016

How do you care for yourself and make room for the other
important things in your life?
He laughed as I asked the question, and jokingly looked around in
exaggerated motions to see if his wife, who was in the other
room, was listening in. Shes on me about what I eat, and my
health.
He thought a minute more, and then said, I do fun stuff, but being
sheriff is by far and away the greatest job on the planet. When I
asked about making room for the other important things in his life,
I watched as self-realization washed over him. I probably should
do more," he said. I am immersed in work, probably more than I
should be. Work is a fascination, it is hobby, it is fun.
What are the surprising burdens of leadership?
When I asked this question, he went silent. I could see him go
inward. He remained quiet for what seemed like a very long time.
He came back to the present, asked his wife for more water and
settled in. I could tell he was fighting back his emotions.
This is a proud man, one who has likely witnessed and dealt with
more than we would care to know. As he looked at me, I could
see the pain in his eyes. Back-to-back in-the-line-of-duty deaths
and tearing the place apart. was his response. The Great
Recession had devastating effects on the budget and required
huge cuts and reductions in force. We talked about how the
rational mind could make sense that it was a reaction to an
external set of circumstances but, as a leader, it still felt like
failing.
I could almost see the weight both of the loss of life and
dismantling of his department sitting on his shoulders. We forget
sometimes, as we attempt to climb in our careers, of the
heaviness that awaits our arrival.
What have you learned about connecting with your people?
Our conversation here surprised me as I admittedly entered it with
some preconceived notions. This was a paramilitary environment
that followed a strict chain of command. But his response, in a
nutshell, was get to know your people. You sit down with them,
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find out what they are interested in, what they like and want to
do.
He went on to say, Whats important at the end of a conversation
is how they feel about you and about themselves. You have to
demonstrate that youre interested, that you care, and that they
can trust you. It turns out that the sheriff is a big believer in the
importance of servant leadership.
When you hear negative things said about you, does it hurt?
Not any more, was his quick answer. It used to, he went on.
He was addicted to reading what others wrote about him and
wanted to fight back, I asked him, You dont feel the need to
manage perception anymore?. His response was quick and
barbed. I dont have to. I am a third-term sheriff with 68% of the
vote.
I think it still bugs him, but he seems resigned to the fact that he
hasnt any power to change what others say or write, so he just
works to let it go.
What do you wish your current self could tell your former
self?
Again, the question was returned with a chuckle. Be a lawyer, go
to nursing school instead of into law enforcement. He continued,
I dont have any regrets. Things happen for a reason.
He then thought more about the question, saying that he would
tell himself, Make sure you have a strong number two. Someone
you can trust, unequivocally, without exception, no doubts, to give
you a different perspective. .
I surround myself with people who are much smarter than I am,
who will walk down the hall and say, boss, this is a bad idea, he
added.
At the end of the interview, we sat and just chatted for a bit
longer. When it came time to leave, he asked his wife, Yvonne, to
please come help him up to his walker. This proud man wanted to
stand and shake my hand. I wished him well and offered the
same to Yvonne, as I doubt the sheriff has the makings of a very
good patient.
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4 reasons to meet face-to-face with employees


SmartBrief/Leadership (6/24/2016)
Time is precious, but so is face-to-face interaction with employees,
says John Baldoni in this blog post and video ( watch in You Tube).
He offers four reasons for visiting, including to show employees that
they are valued and to foster dialogue.

Visiting with employees in their work space is a good habit that


not only shows respect but also allows the leader the opportunity
to get an up close and personal look at how the work is going.
At the same time, a leaders time is valuable; she must ration it
carefully so here are some suggestions for when to visit a
subordinate. So here are four reasons to do it:
1. To clear the air. People who work together have
disagreements. While it often falls to subordinates to try and
smooth things over, when the boss makes the first move and
goes to the employee to do it, it conveys a sense of were
all in this together.
2. To ensure clarity. Some issues require face to face
interaction as a means of checking for understanding. The
bosss actual presence may encourage good dialogue that
allows each party to ask questions.
3. To deliver bad news. No one ever likes to give bad news,
so when a boss makes a point of going to the employee
directly on his turf to give him unpleasant news about a
project cancellation, a budget cut or a headcount reduction,
it communicates that the cares about the people on his
team.
4. To celebrate. Visits from the boss need not be reserved for
tough times; good times are an occasion for celebration.
When a boss visits the team at their workplace to
congratulate them for a job well done, its a good thing.
Employees remember it.

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THE BANYAN TREE


Watch your words, for they can kill
Decrease text size Increase text size
May 24 2016, Mydigifac.com
You mustve heard the phrase if looks could kill. Ever wondered
why theres no phrase that says if words could kill? Heres why:
words do kill. In more ways than one.
Legend has it that in the Solomon Islands, villagers had a novel
way of felling a tree. The local shamans would gather round it and
start yelling and hurling curses and believe it or not, the tree
would start withering.
This would continue for 30 days, at the end of which, the tree
would die. Swearing and cursing at the tree, said the shamans,
kills its spirit and consequently the body. Words are capable of a
lot more than you can imagine.
This story doesnt seem so incredible when you remember that
Tansen was able to light diyas with his voice and that a sharp,
high-pitched note can shatter glass.
Curses, taunts and constantly launched word-arrows can kill not
just the spirit of a tree but also the spirit of a human being. Like
the proverbial silent killer, you cant blame them or send someone
to jail for it.
Piercing words create ill-will and resentment, even low selfesteem over time. And they are not easily forgotten. They keep
vibrating within your mind, creating stress a diseased mind and
a diseased body.
The reverse is true, too.
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Its common knowledge that talking gently and lovingly with your
plants causes them to grow faster and healthier.
Theres no reason why the same shouldnt be true for people too.
Happy words of love and encouragement are an essential
prerequisite to good health and to good relationships.
A look at an instrument called the Eidophone reveals the
importance of positive words. Put simply, it consists of a tightly
stretched drum surface, covered evenly with a moldable pastelike substance and a mouthpiece through which sounds and
words are uttered beneath the drum surface.
Happy words create shapes on the covering substance: shapes
like trees or flowers, as they are in nature. If sand is spread on
the drum surface, these happy words produce precise geometric
designs, which are called Chladni figures, after their original
discoverer Ernst Chladni, famous as the father of acoustics.
Under the same drum, when you utter obscene or ugly words, the
patterns formed are chaotic, with no real form or figure. That,
precisely, is what ugly words create in our universe: chaos and
disharmony. The words we utter are not lost as soon as they
descend from our lips; they keep vibrating within the ethers
reaching a frequency that makes them inaudible.
Would we rather have pleasant words vibrating within our
relationships or sounds that create chaos?
It is a commonly held belief in many cultures to only speak
fortunate words, because the vibrations may influence reality. If
we speak and imagine good, only good will happen, says
tradition. Blessings are, therefore, very important they are
positive words and wishes for good fortune.

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Thats the reason people begin their day by blessing each other:
good morning is a simple enough blessing, and so is assalamalaikum which means peace be upon you.
Within the famous tehzeeb of Lucknow, you are supposed to
begin your morning by saying adaab to the elders, after which
they proceed to shower blessings upon you.
You may or may not believe that curses can fell trees. They can
surely fell a blooming heart, though. And even if you dont believe
that speaking good can manifest good fortune, you can still
believe that it can make you a better person.
(The writer is a freelance journalist)
Columnist:
Zehra Naqvi

How govt statisticians think India lives


At a fundamental level, the concept of a common inflation rate is
flawedfor different households have different consumption patterns

Karthik Shashidhar
The latest inflation numbers (for February) came in earlier this
month, and show that year-on-year consumer price inflation is at
a four-month low of 5.18%. This has led to speculation that the
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may cut policy rates in its next review
scheduled for April.
The decline in the rate of inflation is primarily due to a decline in
food inflation (note that a decline in inflation still implies rising
prices as long as inflation is positive), according to reports
released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO).
The headline inflation numbers, however, are not necessarily the
most interesting part of the inflation storythe way the inflation
numbers are calculated is equally, if not more, fascinating. This
includes both the price index of different product groups, and
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June 2016

weights assigned to different product groups while calculating the


inflation rate.
The weights attached to different product groups for the purpose
of calculating the inflation rate present a fascinating picture of
how government statisticians think India lives.
At a fundamental level, the concept of a common inflation rate is
flawedfor different people and households have different
consumption patterns and thus observe different inflation
numbers.
However, it is important for policy purposes to define a standard
household whose expenses can be tracked over time so that
policymakers understand how prices are changing.
The current series of inflation numbers was introduced in January
2015, and indexed to 2012. In other words, indices of prices of
different product groups have been fixed so that they are equal to
100 for the middle of 2012.
The weights of different product groups have been derived from
the Consumer Expenditure Survey 2011-12, part of the 68th
round of the National Sample Survey (NSS). (These weights are
not too far off from the weights used in the earlier inflation series,
which was indexed to 2010
Since 2012, the CSO has been releasing separate inflation
indices for rural and urban areas (along with a consolidated
number). This is necessitated by widely changing consumption
patterns across these population groups. This also gives us an
insight into what statisticians think is the difference between
consumption patterns of rural and urban households.
As we can see in Figure 1, the major difference between the
weights for rural and urban areas is in housingwhich forms
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June 2016

more than 20% of the urban consumer price index, but


contributes absolutely nothing to the rural index.

While this might appear erroneous on first examination, the fact


that most people in rural areas own their houses suggests that
recurrent spending on housing is minimal.
Nevertheless, the fact that cash expense on housing is close to
zero doesnt mean there is no expense at all (since there is
expense involved in building and maintaining the asset), so the
zero weight is surprising.
With housing being completely ignored, food accounts for more
than half the rural price index.
Interestingly, and perhaps counter-intuitively, the weights for
items such as clothing and footwear, pan, tobacco and other
intoxicants and fuel and light is much higher in the rural index
compared to the urban index.
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June 2016

The higher weight for these items in rural areas can be partly
explained by the fact that more than 20% of the urban index is
taken up by housing, which pushes down relative weights of other
components.
For this reason, it makes sense to look at weights in the urban
index excluding housing, which is shown in the table. Adjusted
Urban Weights refers to the price index weights for urban areas,
assuming there is no weightage attached to housingthis makes
urban and rural weights directly comparable.

Even after adjustment (taking out expenses on housing), we see


that people in rural areas spend more (as a proportion of total
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June 2016

expenditure) on clothing, fuel and intoxicants compared to their


urban counterparts.
The percentage spending on footwear and personal care and
effects is roughly equal in rural and urban areas, while as
expected, urban areas outstrip rural areas in spending on
education, transport and household goods (it is likely that fuel as
in fuel and light refers to cooking fuel rather than transportation
fuel).
It is also pertinent to focus just on food, and see what the
government statisticians think is the distribution of food
consumption of rural and urban people.
In order to do this, we simply look at the weightage for different
food groups as a proportion of total weightage for food for each
population group.
Once again, we see that for most food groups, the weightage for
rural areas is much higher than for urban.
The metaphorical 800-pound gorilla here is prepared foods
while 15% of all spending on foods is spent on prepared foods
(i.e., eating out) in urban areas, only 10% of rural spending goes
into prepared foods.
The only other categories where urban spending outstrips rural is
in fruits (8% versus 5.3%) and pulses (a marginal 14.7% versus
14.2%). Figure 2 has the full details.

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June 2016

Finally, looking at the components of the price index can also help
us explain why inflation has dropped sharply in the past couple of
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June 2016

years (as Figure 3 shows, inflation has dropped sharply since the
beginning of 2014).

We will do so by looking at inflation of different product groups,


starting with the highest level.

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June 2016

For starters, inflation has fallen in each of the categories for both
urban and rural areas, but clearly the sharpest fall has been in
food and beverages.
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June 2016

Interestingly, the price index of housing (which affects only urban


areas) started falling in early 2013a whole year before the
general consumer price index started falling.
It is also interesting to note that while inflation in fuel and light
has dropped sharply in urban areas (in line with the global oil
price decline), it has remained steady in rural areas, suggesting
lower penetration of cooking gas.
Digging deeper into food inflation (Figure 5), we find multiple
reasons for the drop in food inflation in the past two-odd years.

Firstly, inflation in vegetables, which had hit 75% in the latter half
of 2013, has now cooled (even going into negative territory at
times, but that is primarily due to base effects).
Simultaneously, inflation in cereals, oils and meat has also fallen
significantly, which has meant that inflation has been under
control despite a steep increase in prices of pulses in the past
one year.
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June 2016

Character reveals whether people serve others or


themselves
People's character is a predictive indicator of how they will perform as leaders. "The
difference between people of self-serving character and those of servant character is
they can debate ideas heatedly while continuing to honor the value of their fellow
humans," writes S. Chris Edmonds.
SmartBrief/Leadership (6/28)

Who would you rather


have in your life -- a
person who lies and
cheats or a person who
is
gracious
and
supportive?
If both of these people
said, Ive got some feedback for you, it is very likely that the
lying person would provide insights from their self-serving
perspective while the kind person would provide insights from
a service to you perspective.
What would cause a person to lie and cheat, or to be gracious
and supportive, or to be somewhere in between? I believe the
core driver of such behaviors is character.
Human character can be defined as the mental and moral
qualities distinctive to an individual. Ones character can be
beneficial to self, to others, or some combination of both (which is
an unusual pattern, but it happens).
Since humans dont walk around with a billboard that proclaims
our mental and moral qualities, people around us are left to
interpret our character based on our plans, decisions and actions
-- how we treat others, who (or what) we are serving, and the like.
Our actions with strangers might consistently reflect our
character. I might open doors for others or give a lady the cab I
just hailed, choosing to wait for the next cab down the street. Or, I
might open the door for myself, closing it right behind me, not
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June 2016

noticing others following. I might grab that cab and pull the door
closed, ignoring others that might also need a lift.
Our actions with those we interact with regularly -- work
colleagues, family, and friends -- certainly provide evidence of
how much our character leans toward serving self or serving
others.
If, at work, I am mean, dismissive, call people names and find
fault with others more than I find value, its unlikely that
colleagues would describe me as having a servant character. Its
also unlikely that people would like to work for or work with a
person displaying those behaviors -- those of self-serving
character.
They may not have much choice if a person of self-serving
character is their boss or a team member.
I choose to insulate myself from those of self-serving character. I
coach others to do the same thing. Life is too short to willingly
expose yourself to jerks.
My servant character friends and colleagues are not passive
players on this stage of life; they demonstrate passions
frequently. The difference between people of self-serving
character and those of servant character is they can debate ideas
heatedly while continuing to honor the value of their fellow
humans.
Id much rather receive feedback from a person of kind, caring,
servant character than from one of self-serving character.
Can we change our character? What causes our character to
evolve? Experiences. Reflection. Feedback. These things

can cause us to shift from self-service to servant


interactions.
Ultimately, we must be vigilant about how we treat
others, how our character plays out with strangers,
friends, family, and colleagues. If were not serving
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June 2016

others, we must shift our behaviors and our methods to


embrace serving others.
What kind of characters (pun intended) do you
work with? How do you manage those self-serving
characters around you?
How empathy and intellectual curiosity can shape your companys
future

Kelly Wenzel
June 22, 2016
Leadership
Leadership and Management
When I entered the workforce in the early 90s, Bill Clinton was
president, LinkedIn was a decade away, and hiring managers
were (slowly) sorting through crisp paper rsums.
The digital revolution upended just about every aspect of our
world, hiring included. Last year,nearly 3 million graduates
entered the American workforce with decidedly digital rsums
and high expectations of authenticity. Companies will have to
mold their cultures, hierarchies, and roles to attract and retain
them.
Hiring has changed on the other side of the desk, too. Social
media has transformed talent acquisition, and what we look for in
candidates has shifted. In January, Penguin Random
Houseknocked education off its pedestal, announcing candidates
didnt need a degree to land a job.

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June 2016

Throughout my career, Ive seen two traits that separate the A


team from the B team: empathy and intellectual curiosity, both of
which lie at the core of authenticity.
Empathy promotes positive change
Empathys a soft skill, but were not talking about warm, fuzzy
feelings (though Im known as a hugger). Teammates who
communicate sincerely and authentically can navigate thorny
situations like Zen masters, and humans who feel recognized are
more willing to do their part. One study found that people are
more efficient when they see their works positive impacts.
We issue a monthly award to employees who deliver raving fan
service to clients and colleagues. Recipients are recognized for
their above-and-beyond client work, but more than that, theyre
rewarded for ensuring others challenges and concerns are seen,
heard, and understood. Empathy is at the heart of great internal
and external workplace relationships.
Gauge empathy in job candidates by asking who inspires them,
how they worked to cultivate meaningful workplace relationships,
and how they might teach you new concepts. I always ask
candidates to tell me about a time they failed -- it tells me about
their sense of self.
Keep your eyes peeled for change agents who are motivated but
also prioritize work-life balance. People who know how to achieve
without sacrificing their well-being are usually empathetic and
emotionally intelligent.
Curiosity keeps your
company alive
I was privileged to meet
the first female chief
technology officer of the
U.S., Megan Smith. She
runs the highest office in
the nation for technology -228

June 2016

a male-dominated field -- as a married gay woman. Shes


knocked down more than a few barriers. When I asked her what
trait contributed most to her success, she replied, Intellectual
curiosity.
In a rapidly changing environment, intellectual curiosity is integral
to success. Curious people arent gratified by punching the clock;
theyre interested in what the company is doing and how to do it
better.
An inquisitive team holds powerful collective knowledge, creates
innovative products, and generates interesting solutions. As the
pace of business accelerates, building an intellectually curious
team will future-proof your company.
Gauge curiosity by asking candidates to describe how theyve
taught themselves new skills. One candidate said she was taking
marketing courses in between jobs; another learned a foreign
language at night school. Honing skills on the side screams
curious and motivated.
I often ask how candidates would get up to speed in the first 90
days. One candidate surprised me when she flipped my question
around, asking me to define success. Her inquiry indicated deep
curiosity and interest. Bottom line: Candidates who dont ask
questions dont get an offer.
Creating human connections both inside and outside your
company is critical; empathy makes that possible. As empathy
creates cohesive teams, curiosity drives those teams to explore
new solutions, leading to innovation. In this business climate, its
worth it to dig for empathetic, intellectually curious hires.

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EventScan
EventScan : Save the Date
---------------------------------

32nd Annual World Petrochemical Conference


March 20-23, 2017
Marriott Marquis Houston
Houston, TX, USA
Watch this space for details!
Did you miss WPC 2016? You can still buy access to WPC 2016
Video On Demand.
On this web-based platform, you will have access to:
Recorded WPC sessions on Wednesday, March 16 and
Thursday, March 17.

Interviews with key experts at the event.


The WPC 2016 Video On Demand will be available through
September 30, 2016.

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